Good hands: Levi gives Bucs game-breaker
Published 8:00 am Friday, August 5, 2022
No matter what the situation is, Barbe senior wide receiver Jamaal Levi is going to do his best.
Last season he was one of the top receivers in the state despite the Bucs missing the Class 5A state playoffs.
“I was leading the entire state of Louisiana in receiving yards and I just wanted to stay on top,” Levi said. “I was saying to myself, ‘If you are going to do this, you better do it the best you can.’ I did it to the best of my abilities.”
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And he is ready to get the Bucs back to the postseason.
“I feel ready,” Levi said. “I and my team are going to be way better than we were last year just because we have varsity experience.
“It was kind of like a rebuilding year. Now we know what is going on, so I feel like we are going to be way better this year.”
Levi caught 66 passes for 1,538 yards and 19 touchdowns and said he expects to do more of the same with quarterback Will McClain (136-237-8, 2,443 yards, 24 TDs) returning. Levi had more than 100 yards receiving in eight of 10 games.
“His arm has gotten stronger,” Levis said of McClain. “He can throw it farther and I have gotten faster.
“If he throws it farther, I will just go under it and catch it,” Levi said. “We have a 6-2 tight end (Reed Boyd) and two 6-3 receivers (Landon Victorian and Tyler Goff). I think we are going to be pretty good.”
But Levi says it is not all about him. He said he hopes to draw plenty of double-teams to create opportunities for his teammates.
“If I am getting double-teamed, that is going to leave somebody else wide open,” Levi said. “What I am really looking forward to is spreading the ball out to other teammates.”
Levi seldom leaves the field. He scored 26 touchdowns last year playing on both sides of the ball and special teams and even threw a touchdown pass.
“We have put him on defense as well, wherever we need him,” Barbe head coach Mike Cutrera said. “He is capable of doing every position. If you have an athlete that is the caliber that Jamaal is, he is a game-changer and can take over a game.
“We are just glad he is wearing our jersey. I hope the best for him. He has worked hard to put himself in this position. He is a special kid, not only on the field but off the field. He is a good leader. He is just fun to be around.”
Levi said he was clocked at 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the Southern Methodist camp this summer.
“My speed is my thing,” he said. “I can beat everybody.
“Because I am so small and I am going up against big dudes, I can just slip under them,” the 5-foot-9 Levy said. “It was fun knowing that what the college coaches were teaching me I could bring back to my school and help out my teammates. It has really helped me.”
He says he has offers from Southland Conference members McNeese State, Northwestern State and Southeastern Louisiana, plus Grambling State and Louisiana Christian University.
“It has been fun,” Levi said. “I thought I was going to get way more recognition because of the season that I had. But it is all good because I know that I am going to put on a show this year.
“Hopefully I get more offers and my teammates get more notice from (college) coaches.”