Shaun Joplin eludes Lexington defenders in a playoff game. The Southview senior receiver led the Northern Lakes league in receptions this year. He also plays as a defensive back, punts and kicks.
Shaun Joplin grew up in a household where basketball is king.
As the son of a college basketball coach it was practically a given for him to lean toward that sport.
The Southview senior plays basketball, and plays well. Yet, that s not all he can do.
Joplin is an outstanding football player and track competitor too.
This fall, Joplin s contributions have helped the Cougars to one of their best football seasons in school history.
Southview (12-0) will play aDivision II regional final against Medina Highland (11-1) at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Huron.
There are a lot of different things you can do, in football that he has the talent to do and I think it makes it fun for him and he likes to do it all, Southview coach Jim Mayzes said.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound wideout has been the No. 1 target for quarterback Alex Pidcock throughout the season. Joplin caught a Northern Lakes League-leading 42 passes for 912 yards, including 10 for touchdowns during the regular season. He had six catches for 62 yards in the Cougars 38-24 win over Lexington in a regional semifinal.
If I see Joplin running around, he knows what to do and I know where he s going to be, Pidcock said. Having the chemistry like that just makes things a lot easier on me. If I m scrambling around I know where he s going to be and he knows I m going to get him the ball, so it s huge for us.
Besides playing receiver he punts, kicks and plays part-time in the defensive secondary. His maturation as a football player this season may have been most noticeable, particularly by his effort on defense. He has intercepted three passes, including one last week against Lexington.
However, the biggest reaction from the crowd was an aggressive tackle by Joplin of Lexington s quick-footed quarterback Courtney Avery.
Joplin has always been a real great receiver, Mayzes said. What he has done is he s gotten meaner, tougher and more physical.
If you watch him hit No. 3 [Avery] last week, talk about igniting a team. At that moment you could feel everybody go, Look out baby, here we come.
For Joplin, it was a case of him just doing his job while playing on defense.
Everybody has been talking to me about that play, Joplin said. I just made a nice tackle. I wrapped him up and tackled him. I just thought it was a normal tackle, but people are saying it was a pretty big hit.
It s one of many memorable moments. Another this season was a four-touchdown performance in the first half of a 48-14 win over Bowling Green. A year ago, Joplin kicked a school-record 48-yard field goal.
As a track athlete, he placed eighth in the long jump at theDivision I state meet last season and finished ninth in the high jump as a sophomore.
In basketball, he s been a three-year varsity performer who has continually improved with each season.
What Joplin is, he s an athlete, Mayzes said. He may be better at track. He high jumps pretty good. He long jumps pretty good. Whatever season it is he s going to play well.
I think for a long time because his dad was a basketball coach they just thought basketball, basketball. He likes basketball and he s good at that but he s good at other stuff too.
I m just proud of him because of the effort he s put into motivating everybody else. Instead of coming in last when the team comes in, he s up in the front. He s showing that kind of inspiration that really can make a difference.
A big difference this season is having his father, Stan, in the stands every Friday night. The elder Joplin, the former University of Toledo men s basketball coach who was fired after last season, hasn t missed a game this season.
If there is a silver lining in Stan s dismissal, it s been the opportunity to attend some of his son s practices and all of his games.
It s been kind of interesting because all of my friends in the coaching profession have told me, It s his senior year in high school and you re never getting this back, Stan said.
If I had taken a job I wouldn t have been part of his senior year at all. I ve been at all of his football games and hopefully I ll attend all of his basketball games.
If I were coaching I definitely would have missed some games because of practices and recruiting weekends and those types of things.
The younger Joplin is aware of where his father and mother, LaDonna, sit at every game. It s nice having him around this year. He s at home a lot more, Shaun said but jokingly added, He does get on me and my mom s nerves a lot more now.
It s nice because he can go to every game. He doesn t have to worry about going on recruiting [trips] and he s going to wait until next year to make his decision [on a future job].
I like having him at practices and at games and being able to watch me and then help me after games.
The elder Joplin is also working closely with his son in regards to a college future. Shaun has received attention for football and basketball but does not plan to make a decision until after the basketball season.
Michigan is one of some Big Ten schools that have shown some interest in Shaun for football and basketball. Several Mid-American Conference programs have also expressed interest.
I think I ve shown I can play football and I m pretty good at football and now colleges are starting to look at me for football too, Shaun said. I m hoping for basketball and track they keep looking at me too.
Stan is not concerned that holding off on choosing a college may cost his son some opportunities.
One thing I ve found out is if you re good enough to play there are going to be opportunities, Stan said.
For now, the focus is football. The Cougars reached the regional final a year ago only to lose 21-14 to Ashland.
I m just hoping that this year we can keep it going and keep playing as well as we are right now and don t end up like it did last year, Shaun said.
Contact Donald Emmons at:email@example.com 419-724-6302