Tiny 4-foot-11 RB plays varsity football, refuses to back down

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Jawahn Preston is 4-foot-11. That's a fact. He is also a varsity football player, which is precisely where that first fact seems to elicit bug eyes from competitors and the fans they bring with them to Washington (D.C.) Spingarn High football games.

Springarn football player Jawahn Preston at a team practice
Springarn football player Jawahn Preston at a team practice

Despite that height, there is little question that the Spingarn sophomore belongs on a football field somewhere. His heart is completely invested in the game. His body is invested, too, there's just not enough of it to make his coaches confident he won't be crushed if he lines up against opponents weighing 200 pounds or more.

Jawahn Preston of Springarn at a team practice. Preston stands just 4-foot-11
Jawahn Preston of Springarn at a team practice. Preston stands just 4-foot-11

According to the Washington Post's James Wagner in this terrific profile, these are Preston's official measurements: 4-foot-11, 93 pounds. He's only 16. Clearly, Preston belongs on a junior varsity squad.

Yet, because Springarn hardly has enough players to field a varsity football team -- and has nowhere near enough equipment to outfit two squads -- Preston has no choice but to play with the big boys … all of whom are much, much larger than himself.

"I would love to have a junior varsity team because I've got junior varsity kids playing varsity football," Spingarn coach Charlie McKie told the Post. "It helps the varsity in one aspect but it doesn't help the kids in some aspects. They get some varsity time but they'd do a little better if they were playing JV."

Preston's sheer size disadvantage has severely limited the amount of times he gets to touch the ball, even though coaches and teammates attest to his speed and skill as a running back. As a freshman, Preston was handed five carries. Thus far in 2011, he has one.

Yet none of those tough statistics can dent the spirits or confidence of a player who claims he loves to play against larger players because, "They can't really see me." He definitely has the bravery to compete, too, as he showed in the video clip you see above, which was taken from a Springarn practice.

"I want to be the best running back to be known from D.C. to go to Virginia Tech and go to the NFL and break records," Preston told the Post. … "To go to college, I'm going to have to play high school football because they don't recruit from Pop Warner."

In all likelihood, Preston will need a whole lot of carries to achieve those goals, along with a near record-breaking growth spurt. Whether or not he gets either, one thing is certain: The mighty-mite's heart and commitment are certainly in the right place.

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