LAMAR, S.C. — Pick a position, any position. Senior J.J. Langley can play it.
Much to the Lamar Silver Foxes’ good fortune, he is able to play receiver and outside linebacker. Not to mention, some quarterback when needed.
And he can play those positions quite well. They’re sets of skills Langley had worked on since he was playing rec football.
“It’s always been like that. I’ve been able to play anywhere,” Langley said. “I might not be the most athletic on the team, but I want to play. And doing this gives me more chances to play.”
So far this season, Langley has three catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns at receiver. And at linebacker, he has 72.5 tackles (32 solo), including 9.5 for loss and two forced fumbles. He recovered one of those and scored a touchdown against Cheraw. And against North Central, he intercepted a pass and returned that for a score.
“I just try to do whatever to help the team,” said Langley, whose father, Brad, played defensive end and tight end at Timmonsville. “Whatever helps us win, I try my best. It’s more of a team effort, really. The defensive line fills the gaps and opens stuff up for us linebackers. It makes our job a little bit easier.”
Last season, after starting quarterback Cam Galloway was lost for the season because of a broken arm, Langley — Galloway’s best friend — stepped in and still led the Silver Foxes to a Class A state runner-up finish.
During Langley’s freshman year in 2016, he simply was a third-string quarterback who played on special teams. That meant he was often scout-team quarterback in practice.
“I was just kind of there trying to help the starters, because we had a really good squad my freshman year,” Langley said of a state runner-up season. “I took a lot of hard hits, though. But it made me tougher. I got hit by the likes of Luke Amerson and Randy Wheeler.”
In Langley’s sophomore year, he was introduced to linebacker and filled in for standout Jeblonski Green.
“I worked in and out at linebacker and started playing there,” Langley said. “I started against Hannah-Pamplico that year. But most of the time, I came in when Jeblonski needed to rest.”
But his junior year, that youth experience playing quarterback paid off as he filled in for Galloway and opened up the Silver Foxes’ offense.
“I just learned to the ball off when I can and be calm when under pressure,” Langley said. “I needed to be calm especially in those situations when we were down. You know, you can’t get it all back in one play. Just be smart with the football.”
That poise enabled Langley to not miss a beat once he took over behind center.
Now that Galloway is healthy again and leading Lamar into Friday’s Class A upper-state semifinal at Wagener-Salley, Langley is simply enjoying his time on the field. His time at quarterback has even helped him at receiver.
“After you play quarterback, you expect things out of cornerbacks that help you get open as a receiver,” Langley said. “It’s easier to play receiver when you know what defenses are going to do.”
As long as Langley is on the field, he’s having fun. But he knows it’s also expected of him at such a small school.
“We’ve all got to do a little bit of everything,” Langley said. “Coaches tell us we’ve to be versatile. That’s how we’re brought up in Lamar.”