Dakereon Joyner is enjoying the accolades that come with being one of the top high school football players in the country.
Joyner, a 6-2, 200-pound junior quarterback at Fort Dorchester High School, was recently named the S.C. Gatorade player of the year. He can now add The Post and Courier's All-Lowcountry football player of the year award to his list of honors.
Joyner's numbers on the field are astounding. This season, he passed for 3,643 yards and 44 touchdowns while rushing for 1,091 yards and 12 scores. As a sophomore, Joyner led Fort Dorchester to the school’s first-ever state title, passing for 3,197 yards and 30 touchdowns with 1,022 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns.
Joyner admits he enjoys all the attention. But there are things equally important to him that come with being the star quarterback of the area’s best team, things that have nothing to do with honors and statistics.
“It is very important for me that I am a guy that kids look up to,” Joyner said. “Some kids go through a lot of stuff and I want to be able to share my story and give them hope. My message is we should never give up. Just keep fighting and growing and life will be okay.
“Everyone faces adversity and you have to find a way to get through. I appreciate being in the position that I am and I am thankful for the opportunity. Some kids need someone to look up to and I enjoy being that guy.”
One youngster Joyner has a special place in his heart for is his younger brother, D’vonte, an eighth-grader and rising basketball star. Joyner has tried to involve his brother in his recruiting trips to college campuses and is focused on spending extra time with him over the next year.
“I need to spend more time with him,” Joyner said. “Sometimes everything just gets so busy. I want him to be involved as much as possible because I am his father figure really. I have to be there for him when he needs me.”
Joyner plans to make his verbal commitment to a college on Father’s Day next June, in honor of his father, Damond Alton Joyner, who died of a heart attack at the age of 35 when Joyner was nine years old.
He realizes the next six months of the recruiting process will be incredibly busy. He plans to release a list of his top five schools shortly after Christmas. South Carolina, North Carolina State and Louisville will be among those five. Clemson’s recent commitment from five-star quarterback Trevor Lawrence of Georgia has eliminated the Tigers from contention, Joyner says.
"Already, the past couple of weeks have been crazy,” he said. “It’s a big decision and I am trying to not stress about it, but I know the pressure will get worse over the spring and all. It’s a lot of stuff, from the fans and the coaches. Social media can be my friend or my worst enemy so I have to be careful there. I pray that God helps me handle it well.
“I also want to enjoy the process as much as I can. It’s the biggest decision of my life so I want to be sure. There’s a lot to consider in terms of the coaching staff, the depth chart at my position and, of course, the education. Getting a college degree is something that can never be taken from me, so it’s very important to me.”
Berkeley’s first-year head coach Randy Robinson is The Post and Courier’s All-Lowountry coach of the year. Robinson came to Berkeley after a 10-year stint as the head coach at Daniel High School, inheriting a program that was 3-7 last season.
Berkeley finished this season with a 9-3 record and won the Region 8-AAAA championship and a playoff game.
“We set the bar very high early on and our kids bought in,” Robinson said. “We had great kids. We told them to forget all the negativity and focus on being the best they could be this year. They responded great to the challenge.”
ALL-LOWCOUNTRY FOOTBALL TEAM
Quarterback, Fort Dorchester
6-2, 200, junior
Joyner was the 2016 Gatorade Player of the Year for South Carolina. He passed for 3,643 yards and 44 touchdowns, and ran for 1,091 yards and 12 TDs, leading his team to the Class AAAAA Lower State final. He has 6,840 passing yards with 74 TDs and 2,113 rushing yards with 30 TDs over the last two seasons. The top prospect in the state's 2018 class has a 27-2 record as a starter at Fort Dorchester.
6-0, 170, senior
Douglas is a two-year starter for the Stags at quarterback, and was selected to the Shrine Bowl team. He passed for 2,112 yards and 28 touchdowns with 760 yards rushing and 13 scores in 2016, and totaled more than 5,000 yards in the last two seasons. He was named all-Region 8-AAAA and all-county.
Running back, First Baptist
5-11, 192, sophomore
Dukes led the Lowcountry in rushing with 2,239 yards and scored 38 rushing touchdowns. He led First Baptist to the SCISA Class AA state championship, the first in school history. He was named AA SCISA all-state and set school records in rushing yards and touchdowns.
Running back, West Ashley
5-8, 180, senior
Freeman rushed for 1,513 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2016, and finished as West Ashley's career and single-season rushing leader with more than 3,600 career yards. He played in the North-South all-star game and earned all-region honors in 7-AAAAA.
Wide receiver, Fort Dorchester
6-1, 185, senior
Sanders caught 61 passes for 1,440 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2016. He was selected to play in the North-South all-star game, but was later added to the S.C. Shrine Bowl team. He earned all-region honors the last two years and caught 105 passes for 2,375 yards and 28 touchdowns in two seasons at Fort Dorchester.
Wide receiver, Fort Dorchester
6-2, 192, junior
Rated one of the top prospects in the 2018 class, Williams made a huge impact at Fort Dorchester in his first season. He caught 58 passes for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns and earned all-region honors. Williams also excelled in the kick return game and saw time in the defensive backfield.
Wide receiver, First Baptist
5-7, 135, senior
Transferred from West Ashley and made a huge contribution to First Baptist's Class AA state championship run. Green finished with 63 receptions for 1,091 yards and nine touchdowns, earning all-region and all-state honors. He played in the SCISA North-South all-star game, scoring three touchdowns.
Offensive lineman, Summerville
6-2, 290, junior
Hutto started at left tackle for the Green Wave this season and was the highest graded offensive lineman. He's considered a Division I prospect for the 2018 class and earned all-county and all-region honors.
Offensive lineman, Wando
6-2, 270, senior
Engelking earned all-region honors as the starting center and played in the North-South all-star game. He had the highest grading average for the season at Wando, with five pancake blocks and 13 knockdown blocks during the season.
Offensive lineman, Cane Bay
6-0, 270, senior
Turner was a four-year starter at Cane Bay, the last two seasons at center. He led an offense that averaged 375 yards rushing per game over the last two seasons, earning all-region and all-county honors.
Offensive lineman, Colleton County
6-2, 285, senior
Crosby was a four-year starter at Colleton County and was selected to the Shrine Bowl team as a center in 2016. He earned all-region honors in 2015.
Offensive lineman, Fort Dorchester
6-6, 315, senior
McLellan transferred from a Georgia high school to Fort Dorchester for his senior season. He started at left tackle for the Patriots and was named all-Region 7-AAAAA. He also was selected to play in the North-South all-star game.
5-7, 140, senior
Courson finished among the leading kick scorers in the area while sharing duties as the primary placekicker. He led the area with seven made field goals in 11 attempts, with a long of 45 yards. He also converted 11 extra points in 13 attempts.
Defensive lineman, Ashley Ridge
6-3, 205, senior
DeLoach was a three-year starter for the Swamp Foxes. He tallied 62 tackles with eight tackles for loss and two sacks this season. He earned all-region honors in 2016 and played in the North-South all-star game.
Defensive lineman, Stratford
6-1, 235, senior
Brown-Hills was a three-year starter on the Stratford defensive line, earning all-region and all-county honors this season. He finished 2016 with 74 total tackles, including nine sacks and 24 tackles for loss.
Defensive lineman, Summerville
6-1, 275, senior
Dingle was the top player along Summerville’s defensive front, finishing with 58 total tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. He was named all-region.
Linebacker, Fort Dorchester
6-1, 205, senior
Peterson was selected to the S.C. Shrine Bowl roster, and was twice named all-region. He finished 2016 with 121 total tackles and 16 tackles for loss.
5-11, 220, senior
McDaniel was a three-year starter for the Warriors and led Wando in tackles this season with 146 total hits, including 104 solo tackles. He also had two sacks and eight tackles for loss, earning all-Region 7-AAAAA honors.
5-11, 185, senior
Cypress had a tremendous senior season for the Stags, leading the team with 140 total tackles, including 13 tackles for loss. He was named all-Region 8-AAAA and all-county.
5-9, 195, senior
A two-way star for the Wolves, Moultrie led his team with 138 total tackles, including 17 tackles for loss. He also had four sacks and forced four fumbles, and was named all-Region 6-AAA and all-county. He finished with 374 career tackles, and rushed for 1,092 yards at running back in 2016.
Defensive back, Woodland
6-0, 170, senior
A three-year starter in the secondary at Woodland, Allen was among the state leaders with 14 interceptions. He had five interceptions in a playoff win over Marion. He played in the North-South all-star game and blocked a punt, earning South defensive MVP honors.
Defensive back, Stratford
6-0, 170, senior
A late selection to the Shrine Bowl team, Johnson was named all-county and finished this season with 84 tackles and three fumble recoveries. A three-year starter at Stratford, he has an offer from Wofford College.
Defensive back, Summerville
5-10, 180, senior
McTeer moved from receiver to cornerback in his senior season and earned a spot in the North-South all-star game. He finished with 55 tackles, including 41 solo hits, and three interceptions this season, and has several scholarship offers at various levels.
Defensive back, Berkeley
6-4, 190, junior
Mukuamu was a two-year starter for the Stags and a key leader in the secondary, finishing with 69 tackles, including 45 solo hits. He also had eight pass breakups and received a scholarship offer from South Carolina last summer.
Punter, Northwood Academy
6-2, 210, senior
Lewis was among the top punters in the state this season, earning all-region honors and averaging 39.6 yards on 29 punts this season with a long of 53 yards.
Oliver Michaud, Porter-Gaud, senior
Corey Fields, Baptist Hill, junior
LarRynz Givens, St. John’s, senior
Dakariee Alston, Wando, senior
Dante Smith, Porter-Gaud, senior
OrTre Smith, Wando, senior
Daveon Moore, Berkeley, senior
Chris Hampton, Cane Bay, senior
Miles Condon, Wando, senior
Robert O’Donald, West Ashley, senior
Parker Blanchard, Porter-Gaud, senior
Rahn Moore, Berkeley, senior
R.J. Roderick, Cane Bay, junior
Tyrik Martin, Goose Creek, senior
Jacob Greenwell, Cane Bay, senior
Aerimon Gipson, Berkeley, senior
Ben Mitchum, Ashley Ridge, sophomore
Qwasi Kirkland, Fort Dorchester, senior
Timmy Campbell, First Baptist, junior
Taishon Smalls, Summerville, senior
Morgan Nelson, Goose Creek, senior
Eric Vettel, Bishop England, senior
Ryan Huiet, Pinewood Prep, senior
Cameron Roberts, Northwood Academy, senior
Tre Morrison, Berkeley, sophomore
JaRel Brown, Wando, senior
Eric Jackson, Porter-Gaud senior
Devyn Stinson, Cross, senior
Evan Dockery, Academic Magnet, senior
Leo Albano, Bishop England; Nolan Lytchfield, Northwood; Jonathan Bennett, Summerville; Cale Lewis, Wando; Victor Colbert, Hanahan; Darique Hampton, Goose Creek; Craig Grant, Colleton County; Kamren Smiley, St. John’s; Fisher Jackson, Colleton Prep; Cameron Berl, First Baptist; Jalen Ladson, Cathedral; Chris Hethington, West Ashley.
Daryl Hancock, Summerville; Davon Stuckey, Palmetto Christian; Jacob Reeves, Dorchester Academy; Damon Deford, Cane Bay; Matthew Latham, Pinewood Prep; Stephen Schlosser, Academic Magnet; Nathan Walker, Cross; Jerry Bailey, Hanahan; Cyrus Clark, Ashley Ridge; Leandre Legree, Goose Creek.
Richard Bailey, Baptist Hill; Javante Grant, Hanahan; Raquan Simmons, Fort Dorchester; Jamie Watson, Hanahan; Kevin Smalls, Baptist Hill; Hakeem Ellington, Ashley Ridge; Malik Phyall, Berkeley; Jordan McDaniel, James Island; Devin McCoy, Stall; Santonio Washington, First Baptist.
Kris Copeland, Cane Bay; Roger Gibbs, Timberland; DJ Chisolm, Berkeley; Dante Jackson, Northwood; TJ Givens, St. John’s; Juwan Scott, Stall; Mikey Smith, St. John’s Christian; Nick Padgett, Colleton Prep; Russell Montgomery, Ashley Ridge; Zack Pampu, Bishop England; Wyatt Baldwin, Coastal Christian.
Nick Smith, Timberland; Christian Papa, Northwood; Brandon Brown, Military Magnet; James Middleton, St. John’s; Antwan Goodwin, Military Magnet; Quaizon Banks, Stall; Matthew Bartlett, Palmetto Christian; Alex Katsanis, Pinewood Prep; Josh Reynolds, Pinewood Prep.
Matthew Rembert, Timberland; Jordan Jacas, Stall; Josh Carter, Colleton Prep; Jack Brickle, Dorchester Academy; Turner Kinard, First Baptist; Marcellus Forbes, Cross; Alex Pastis, Academic Magnet; Nathan West, Cane Bay; Malik Rivers, Timberland
Tyshon Richardson, Stall; Jack Schaible, Porter-Gaud; Dominique Dean, Berkeley; Antonio Sherrod, Cane Bay; Kamden Middleton, West Ashley; Hunter Shaw, Summerville; Deonte Geddis, Summerville; Jim Mitchum, Ashley Ridge; Chase Kennedy, Dorchester Academy; Connor McSwain, Pinewood Prep; Miller Whitten, Wando; Deeke Lang, Baptist Hill; Tory Burrell, Goose Creek; Parks Cochrane, Porter-Gaud; Josh Hill, Timberland.
Tyquan Campbell, West Ashley; Graham Kaplan, Porter-Gaud; Andrew Pizzo, Bishop England; Kobie Dickerson, Stratford; Jeffrey McElveen, Goose Creek; Jay Burnell, Baptist Hill; Josh Ginn, Dorchester Academy; Jack Grooms, Bishop England.