Steve LaPrad might regret that he all but told a college football coach to recruit Dakereon Joyner like his job depended on it.
LaPrad couldn’t help himself. The Fort Dorchester (S.C.) High School coach was still buzzing over his school’s first football state championship.
Joyner, then a sophomore, threw for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns, to go along with another score on the ground, in the 4-A Division I win over Dorman.
It’s been more than a year since Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente flew into North Charleston, S.C., for his first recruiting visit with Joyner, but LaPrad stands by what he told Fuente, who had just been tapped as the replacement for legend Frank Beamer.
“We didn’t know each other and I kid around a lot,” LaPrad said. “I shouldn’t have said this, but I said, ‘Hey, man. He’s an 8-year guy.’ ”
A little time passed before Fuente finally asked LaPrad what the heck he meant.
“I said, ‘Well, for four years, you’re going to win, then they’re going to give you four more years on your contract, because you’re going to do as good as you did in the last four,’ ” LaPrad recalled. “He started dying laughing.”
For LaPrad, “special” is one of a handful of buzzwords he uses to describe Dakereon Joyner, who’s now committed to play quarterback at South Carolina, picking them over Fuente and Virginia Tech — and dozens of other schools.
“He doesn’t do things normally,” LaPrad said of Joyner. “His work ethic off the field, discipline, character, his agility and speed, his arm strength just keeps getting better and better.
“He’s just freakish, but he just keeps getting better and better. Every day, he gets better.”
Since Joyner took over as the starting quarterback during his season, he’s thrown for over 6,800 yards with 77 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 2,200 yards and 31 scores.
“I know there’s a select few guys in America like Dakereon,” LaPrad said. “I can’t say he’s the only one, but I do think he’s different, because he’s got those intangibles. As good as he is now, and I look back where he was at two years ago, he’s 10 times better than he was two years ago and it scares me to think where he’s going to be two years from now, it does.
“I mean, it’s a good scare. No matter what the feat is, he makes it happen. He’s going to work. Work’s not a problem for him. If he has to change this, change that, he can do it.”
According to Rivals, Dakereon Joyner (6-foot-1, 202 pounds) is ranked as the No. 12 athlete in the Class of 2018. He’s listed by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 10 dual-threat quarterback.
LaPrad insists there’s no debate. Joyner is quarterback, even though he’s also a “dadgum good athlete,” too.
“He’s just such a leader. He’s got the – people always call it the ‘it factor,’ ” LaPrad said. “He’s just got the ‘it factor.’ He’s different.”
Joyner, who’s on track to graduate from Fort Dorchester in December, will enroll at South Carolina in January. At No. 225 overall, he is currently the top-rated prospect in the Gamecocks’ 2018 signing class.