New Orleans -- Let's start with James Downing's most impressive stat-- he scored a perfect 36 on his ACT. On top of that, he maintains a 4.1 GPA and has his sights set on attending the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.
"It says it in our weight room-- there's a reason the word student comes first in the phrase student athlete," Downing said. "You're a student first and foremost here at Newman so academics always come first. The coaches here are great about that."
"He's one of those young men that's just selfless in what he does," said Newman Head Football Coach Nelson Stewart. "He works tirelessly in the weight room and he's just universally respected for the kind of player and person he is."
Not only is Downing a captain of Newman's football team-- who led the Greenies in sacks last season-- but he's also a starter on their lacrosse team, keeping him busy year-round.
"Just a full course load, full plate basically, really just contributes to me knowing how to manage my time wisely and cutting out a lot of the extra stuff that my friends get to do," Downing said.
"I think we embrace the idea of playing in each season," Stewart said. "All of our strength programs are built around multi-sport athletes. I think they're very successful because they can work different muscle groups and just different dynamics so I think it's something that's really important if they do that."
James Downing of Newman. This week's Scholar Athlete. Brought to you by your Southern Quality Ford Dealers.