Anthony Averett tells his tale in tattoos.
He has just two of them, for now, but each is a special statement - a reflection of his life, his personality, and his priorities.
He got his first one on his left arm a little more than a year ago. It's a drawing of a rose with his mom's name, "Carmen," and what he says is an apt description of himself - "Momma's Boy."
Averett, a Woodbury High School junior, has committed to attend the University of Alabama on a football scholarship. He's a star quarterback and defensive back, and he's such a top track athlete that he'll be among the favorites in the high school long jump at the Penn Relays next weekend.
At 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, Averett fits the defending national champion Crimson Tide's mold of rangy, physical defensive backs. He thinks the best thing about Alabama's defense is the way the players "always attack."
But he wanted his first tattoo to honor his mother.
"How could I say no to that?" said Carmen Davis, a health and physical education teacher at Woodbury who was known as Carmen Harvey during her days as a top athlete at Deptford High School.
Averett got his second tattoo last summer. He came up with the design, although his mom came up with the $275.
But they both agree, as do his coaches at Woodbury, that South Jersey's top all-around athlete might be best summed up by the artwork on his right forearm. It's a drawing of football, with the word "Humble" inside.
"That's him," Woodbury football coach Zach Valentine said. "He's such a humble kid. He'll do whatever you ask him to do, and never says a word about it."
To Averett, the design works because it's a reflection of his life. Everybody sees the outside, the stardom in football as well as track and field. But he wanted to emphasize what's inside.
"I know I've had a lot of success," Averett said. "Some people, they let that go to their head. My mom always told me I have to stay humble. That's me. I keep to myself."
Averett won New Jersey's Meet of Champions in the long jump as a sophomore with a leap of 23 feet, 73/4 inches. This past winter, he won the state indoor high jump (6 feet, 6 inches) and the Eastern States championship in the 55-meter dash (6.46 seconds).
"He's got that football mentality, that toughness," Woodbury track coach Dan Jones said. "But he's such a great kid to coach. He never says a word."
Despite his track success, Averett says that football is his sport. It's in his blood. His uncle, Carmen Davis' brother, is longtime NFL lineman Bryant McKinnie.
Averett committed to Alabama after attending the Crimson Tide's spring game on Saturday. He was struck by the 78,000 spectators, by the Southern hospitality of the Alabama fans, by the program's high graduation rate, and by some personal attention from head coach Nick Saban.
"Coach Saban said he coaches the defensive backs, so he'll be coaching me," Averett said.
Davis said she was amazed at how many Alabama fans knew Averett.
"They were calling him 'the kid from New Jersey,' " Davis said.
Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson, who spoke at a clinic at Alabama last month, thinks Averett is a "perfect fit" for Alabama.
Averett said he might try to graduate from Woodbury in January, so he can enroll at Alabama and play in the 2013 spring game. But he's trying not to rush, since he wants to make the most of this season in track as well as his senior season in football.
He's not sure about his next tattoo. He just knows it's a matter of time. After all, most of his tale is still untold.
Four South Jersey juniors have committed to attend major-college programs on football scholarships:
PLAYER HIGH SCHOOL POS. COLLEGE
Anthony Averett Woodbury QB/DB Alabama
Rashad Kinlaw Absegami QB/DB Notre Dame
Eli Woodard Eastern DB Ohio State
Greg Webb Timber Creek DT Penn State
- Phil AnastasiaEndText