Can the Jaguars compete for the AFC South championship? Who are the best high school football players in our area? Who’s the most talented athlete to ever come through the First Coast?
Those are just a few of the questions News4Jax Sports Editor Justin Barney fielded during Tuesday’s Ask Me Anything. Justin also shared what led him into journalism in the first place, his thoughts on the Jaguars-Bengals matchup and his sleeper picks in fantasy football.
(Quick reminder: On Tuesday at 11 a.m., we’ve got an Ask Me Anything with Tarik Minor. In the meantime, you can catch up on Vic’s, Rebecca’s and Lena’s AMAs.)
Alright, enough of the preamble — let’s get to it:
Question: Do you think the jaguars are gonna win the AFC South championship at the end of this NFL season?
Justin: Wishful thinking. Next season will be the one to circle for Jaguars fans. A lot of youth on this year’s Jaguars team and I think that inexperience is going to continue to show. I think a 5- or 6-win season is in the cards in 2020 for the Jaguars. Then again, this is 2020 so they’ll probably run the table and finish 14-2 now that I say that.
Question: In your opinion, what was the single biggest move the Jaguars made during the off season?
Justin: Just one? They all seem to run together because there were so many of them. If I had to pick just one, I’d say ditching Nick Foles and that onerous contract in a deal to the Bears. They essentially paid $30 million to Foles for one season in town and then were forced to eat roughly $20 million in dead money this year. But dealing him freed up money over the next two seasons. That move also solidified Gardner Minshew as the guy at QB.
Question: What did you think about the Creekside-Bolles game last week? Do you think this could be the year Creekside makes a run at a championship?
Justin: What a game! I didn’t see that coming at all because Bolles looked so good early. But that game was closer than many people realized last year (24-21). I don’t know if Creekside makes a run in 7A. We’ll see the playoff draw soon, but I do think that Sean McIntyre’s team is poised to be the best in that program’s history. The 2012 team with QB Adam Sandin running the show holds that designation now, but the 2020 team has potential to eclipse the ’12 squad.
Question: Who do you think has been the best offensive and defensive player high school football players so far this year?
Justin: A few names surface. RBs Kade Frew of Bolles and Myles Montgomery of Fletcher, WRs Davis Ellis (Bolles) and Jack Goodrich (Creekside). LB/S Tyson McClendon of Baldwin. Still early but those names stand out.
Question: Who’s the most talented athlete (regardless of sport) you’ve seen come up through Northeast Florida?
Justin: So many. Tim Tebow at Nease (2003-05). Derrick Henry at Yulee in 2012. In basketball, Grayson Allen at Providence. Hunter Barco in baseball at Bolles. Justin Taylor at St. Joseph Academy in track and field. He won 3 state distance running events in one day. Sprinter Kendal Williams at Stanton. He’ll be an Olympian one day. While I didn’t cover many of their actual meets, swimmers Caeleb Dressel at Clay and Ryan Murphy at Bolles. Dorian Williams and Rennia Davis (Ribault girls hoops).
Question: Which sleepers should I be snatching up for my fantasy football team?
Justin: He’s probably been scooped up already, but James Robinson at RB. Leonard Fournette is probably a flex play most weeks, but he’d finding the end zone. Maybe a Rex Burkhead. He’s probably still available in leagues. What type of league are you in?
Question: What inspired you to get into sports journalism and what advice do you have for aspiring sports reporters?
Justin: I always wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid I used to sit in front of TV, watch games & write stories off of them. I used to memorize the backs of baseball cards. It definitely started early in life. One of my college professors early told me I should reach out to the paper & see if I could get a foot in there & that’s how I got a professional start. Advice I’d give now is keep trying. Don’t get frustrated. Sell & promote yourself. Don’t quit even when it feels like you should.
Question: What high school football game are you looking forward to this week?
Justin: Quite a few good ones. Plantation American Heritage (2-0) at Bartram Trail (3-0); Baker County (3-0) at Westside (2-1); and Creekside (2-1) at Fleming Island (3-0) are the three that jump out.
Question: What have you thought of Bartram Trail this year?
Justin: Very good team. They were ranked No. 1 in our Super 10 to start. Their first 2 weeks were, at first glance, a bit suspect, but in hindsight, look much better now. Definitely the area’s No. 1 team.
Question: Is it too early to say if Minshew’s the guy in Jacksonville?
Justin: I think it’s too early to say he’s overmatched or that he’s a franchise QB. We need to see a full season from him. He’s looked sharp and he’s looked like he’s regressed, so I think we need to see that over the course of the year to make an accurate call on his future.
Question: After Florida’s first game, do you think it is time to talk about Tanking for Trask?
Justin: Tank for Trevor becomes Tank for Trask. He looked incredible last week. How about Plummet for Pitts?
Question: How do you like the Jaguars' chances against the Bengals this week?
Justin: I’ll take the Jaguars this week and hope that the coaching staff has corrected that pitiful effort against the Dolphins.
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