By Mike Keeney, Contributing Writer
Joshua Eaton is a coach’s dream. He’s has a rare combination of size and speed for a cornerback with excellent man-to-man coverage skills.
He is one of the most sought-after defensive backs in the state as Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma are hoping to sign him on National Signing Day on Feb. 5.
In his senior season at MacArthur, the 6-2, 170-pound Eaton recorded 63 unassisted tackles, assisted on another 35, broke up seven passes, recovered one fumble (which he returned 55 yards for a touchdown) and recorded one interception. He also helped out on offense for the Generals, who earned their first playoff berth in 12 years, with 13 receptions for 141 yards and one touchdown.
Eaton’s stellar senior season has earned him the Northeast News’s Defensive Player of the Year honors.
MacArthur High School head football coach Wayne Crawford said it has been a pleasure watching Eaton work his magic over the last two years.
“Joshua is a very talented young man,” Crawford said. “He could play wide receiver at a Division I college, but he’s such a good corner that a lot of schools are after him.”
Eaton, a Houston Chronicle Top 100 recruit, originally committed to Texas, but de-committed and has set his sights on Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma.
Those are three good options for a high school football player to have.
Eaton did not sign during the NCAA’s early signing period (Dec. 18-20). He visited Alabama in December and will take a trip to Georgia in January. Crawford said whoever lands his star pupil is going to get one heck of a defensive back.
“He has great man-to-man coverage skills,” Crawford said. “He’s a great tackler and has good ball skills as well. He basically shut down half the field for us this year. Teams just refused to throw in his direction.”
Eaton, a first team all-district performer for the last two years, wants to have the chance to contribute as a freshman and whichever team offers him that chance will have the inside track to land his services.
“Yes, for sure,” when asked if he thought he could contribute for a major program as a freshman. “I’ll be ready to work wherever I go.”
Crawford said the three-year starter has the frame to add weight and he believes he can play at 200 pounds and maintain his 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash.
“He can play at 200 and I think he’ll add weight in college,” Crawford said. “His length is one of his best assets and something all the coaches who are after him have been really impressed with. Joshua is looking to get on the field as a freshman. That’s very important to him.”
Eaton is a three-sport athlete. He’s currently playing on the MacArthur basketball team and will run track in the spring. Once he gets to college, he’ll strictly focus on football.
“I need to get in the weight room and add some strength and weight,” Eaton said. “I think concentrating just on football will help me do that.”
Crawford said Eaton is a likable young man who is popular with his fellow students.
“Joshua is a great kid and one of our leaders around campus,” Crawford said. “He’s a member of our Young Man’s Athletic Club. He’s a passionate kid with a great personality.”
When asked who he would compare him to at the NFL level, Crawford said his coverage skills remind him of shutdown corners Champ Bailey and Darrell Revis.
“He’s a lot like those two guys and just like them, he can do something with the ball once he gets it in his hands,” Crawford said.
And how much will Crawford miss Eaton next year?
“We’re all going to miss him around here next year,” Crawford said. “It’s been a blessing to inherit a kid like him.”