LAKELAND — Javares McRoy is a soft-spoken guy, but has no shortage of loud plays on the field.
With his athleticism and cutting ability, the Lakeland wide receiver nearly goes into video-game mode out on the field. While future teammate Jeff Driskel and current Dreadnaught teammate Steward Butler stole the show last Friday, McRoy was by no means a shortage of excitement when on the field.
He didn’t accumulate nearly 500 total yards of offense and five touchdowns, like Driskel, or break Chris Rainey’s single-game rushing record (347), like Butler (367), but he was a big part of Lakeland’s 56-35 win over Hagerty in the first round of the playoffs.
McRoy finished the night with 65 yards rushing and a touchdown on five carries, caught three passes for 22 yards and converted a two-point conversion. But McRoy’s best play of the night came on a play that didn’t count.
With Lakeland leading 28-21 in the third, McRoy took a handoff from his own 20 and immediately cut to his right. With Hagerty’s defenders closing in, he made a slight cut back inside before avoiding another tackle as he cut back to the sideline. He appeared to be wrapped up around 10 yards beyond the line of scrimmage before his agility propelled him toward the middle of the field where he, again, avoided yet another Hagerty tackle. After slipping by a couple more defenders, McRoy sprinted to the end zone for an apparent 80-yard touchdown.
Unfortunately for McRoy, who was visibly exhausted once he crossed the goal line, a holding penalty was called near the line of scrimmage. To make matters worse, the call didn’t interfere with the play at all.
After the game, McRoy wasn’t upset with the play that was called back, he was just happy to see his team advance.
“I played pretty good,” McRoy said. “We won the game … came out with the ‘W.’
“It was a big win here against Jeff — bootlegging all around.”
When the two teams lined up to shake each others’ hands, McRoy and Driskel had a short embrace at midfield.
“Can’t wait to play with him,” McRoy said of Driskel. “I’m ready.”
For Driskel, the feeling is mutual.
“He has game-changing speed,” Driskel said of McRoy. Every time the ball is in his hands you get tensed up if you’re on the other sideline. He’s going to be a huge weapon next year and I can’t wait to play with him.”
Driskel said he congratulated McRoy after the game and told him to take his team to state and then get ready for his Gator career.
“I want him to focus on his high school team, but when that’s done, gotta get rolling at Florida,” Driskel said.
While McRoy was used primarily in the running game last Friday, he said he will enroll at Florida in January strictly as a wide receiver.
“I want to go for deep balls because they don’t have many people that go for the deep balls,” he said. “I want to be the main person they throw to for the deep balls.”
Rivals.com rates the 5-foot-9, 170-pound McRoy as a four-star prospect and the 23rd-best receiver.