J.T. Waters might not be a household name around the Lowcountry, but national media outlets Yahoo Sports and MaxPreps know all about the talented quarterback putting up some truly remarkable numbers this fall.
Both national websites reported on the senior’s accomplishments in Palmetto Christian Academy’s season-opener, a 62-49 victory over Porter-Gaud on Aug. 20. Waters was nearly flawless, accounting for 618 total yards (306 passing, 312 rushing) and eight touchdowns.
“It’s always a good thing when you hear your name mentioned at the national level,” Waters said. “It makes it even more impressive when you play for some small school in Charleston, S.C.”
Palmetto Christian is a private school in Mount Pleasant with 496 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade. There are 130 students enrolled at the high school level. Located just a few miles down the road is Wando High, the largest school in the state with an enrollment inching toward 4,000.
Waters has no regrets about attending a small SCISA school instead of playing for one of the state’s traditional football powers in the High School League. He’s still managed to catch the attention of college recruiters. He’s getting interest from The Citadel and Wofford, and already has an offer from Newberry.
What the 5-10, 175-pound player brings to the table is big numbers and a big heart. He has rushed 137 times for 1,180 yards and 21 touchdowns. He’s completed 66 of 116 passes for 1,089 yards and nine more TDs. That projects to 4,538 yards for the regular season, and doesn’t include probable playoff games for the Eagles, who are 4-1 heading into Friday’s home game against Bible Baptist.
“He’s a competitor,” Palmetto Christian coach Jim Daniel said. “He competes against himself. He’s always working hard, wanting to do better.”
Waters’ best game last year included 520 yards in total offense. He finished the 2012 season with 1,644 yards rushing and 31 touchdowns, along with 1,512 passing yards and nine TDs to lead his team to a 7-4 record. It was after the season that Waters made the commitment to the weight room and agility drills.
Waters’ father, Johnny Waters, has been a longtime football coach. He was an assistant coach at Bishop England and came to PCA when the football program was started seven years ago.
“On the field, they have a player/coach relationship,” Daniel said. “You don’t hear dad or son. You don’t hear that until they go home at night and watch film. J.T makes it easy for us as coaches because he knows the system and works so hard.”
Waters wants to end his high school football career with a state championship. Palmetto Christian has been close before, losing in the Class AA state championship game against Dillon Christian in 2009.
“This season has been interesting,” Waters said. “I just go out there, have faith in the coaching staff and wait for the offensive line to open some holes. We believe. We believe we can win the state championship.”