On a day for celebrating America’s freedom, Prestonwood Christian senior Javan Bouton spent his Fourth of July making the decision to both serve his country and further his football career.
The Lions’ standout offensive lineman declared as much that afternoon by announcing a verbal commitment to Navy – a decision that suited his needs both on the gridiron and in the classroom.
“I just felt like it was the best fit for me both for football and academics,” Bouton said. “It’s such a great opportunity to have after football, and I just felt like the coaching staff really wanted me on the team.”
Bouton’s decision culminates a frenetic few months on the recruiting trail, initially turning heads in March after earning MVP honors among his fellow offensive linemen at noted prospect showcase The Opening in Dallas. It didn’t take long afterwards for the scholarship offers to roll in, with Bouton picking up 10 offers between the months of April and May.
Among the schools interested were two of the nation’s more revered service academies – Army and Navy – as well as Troy, which distanced from the rest as Bouton’s top three schools. A strong relationship with Midshipmen receivers coach and recruiter Mick Yokitis and an infinity for the academy’s pedigree on the football field – since 2003, the program has averaged just over eight wins per season – helped seal the deal for Bouton.
“It was taxing. After winning the MVP award at The Opening, I feel like I became a more highly touted prospect and had a lot of schools calling and offering me,” Bouton said. “It was very rewarding and taxing at the same time.”
A prospective engineering or business major, Bouton said that getting his college commitment finalized before the start of the school year was indeed the plan as he now narrows his focus on the last of four seasons on varsity.
Entrenched as Prestonwood’s starting left tackle, Bouton has enjoyed plenty of success during his time with the Lions – capturing a Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools state championship as a sophomore in 2017 and earning TAPPS all-state honorable mention as a junior in 2018.
Bouton looks to pen a familiar script as a senior, one that will require the lineman to help shepherd an otherwise young Prestonwood roster as one of the program’s lone returning starters from last season.
“Our team is coming along. We have a bunch of young players that are developing pretty fast,” Bouton said. “I look to be a leader on the team next year and I feel like we can do big things. I see a lot of potential for this team to bond, and our team already has such a great relationship.”
It’s a different challenge, no doubt, but Bouton is plenty anxious to tackle.
“We’ve had some great leaders on the team over the years and it was something where I could just step back, play and do my job,” Bouton said. “But I like having to take on more of a leadership role because it’s preparing me to be more vocal and get ready for college.”