DANBURY — For someone who’s achieved massive success in a short period of time, Jah Joyner has remained remarkably grounded.
That’s no surprise to those who know him, or helped him achieve his dream. Joyner’s magnetic attitude and stellar skill set led to a commitment to play football at Boston College. He announced his decision on social media last weekend after spending the entire day on campus.
Joyner, a defensive end, said the experience of the Eagles coaching staff added up to the perfect match. A 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end, Joyner is a dynamic athlete who wasn’t on the radar until coach Augustine Tieri’s arrival, but he quickly made coaches take notice.
“He’s got such a great personality and zero sense of entitlement,” Tieri said. “He’s the type of guy when these college coaches get to meet him, they fall in love with him.
“We got the ball rolling and got his film out to as many coaches as possible. I can’t say enough about the college coaches I got to interact with. They knew what they were seeing was special.”
The rising senior had 11 sacks and an interception a year ago for Danbury to catch the attention of college coaches. A virtual unknown at this point last year, Joyner got a host of offers from across the region. He said it came down to UMass, Rutgers and Boston College, and he settled on the highest one academically.
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“Going Division I is the best thing that could ever happen to me,” Joyner said. “I feel so blessed to go to Boston College, and that people and coaches believe in me. … I’m extremely excited to go there, it will be a great place for me to grow academically and physically.”
He also cited the Eagles coaching staff. Head coach Steve Addazio has had success recruiting in Connecticut — graduate and New Canaan native Zach Allen was just drafted by the Arizona Cardinals — while defensive line coach Jim Reid has coached for 45 years.
“Going to the campus and meeting Coach Reid and Addazio was amazing,” Joyner said. “They were probably the most in contact with me. All three (schools) were close. … Coach Reid was the one that really why I wanted to go there; he has the most experience.”
It all came quick for Joyner, who relied on Tieri to manage the recruitment process. Weekend visits sandwiched a focus on academics to put him in the best position. He had 11 total offers but wanted to make the decision before the end of spring practice.
“Coach Tieri was a big help with recruiting,” Joyner said. “I was focusing on school and not put more pressure on myself; and he was doing a lot of the work. He was such a big help with that.”
Joyner is the second Division I commitment for the Hatters in a handful of months, as Malik Thomas will play running back at Central Connecticut. Joyner’s classmate Kile Jackson also has an offer from Wagner College as interest continues to grow around the rising Danbury program.
“I’m just excited for him,” Tieri said. “It’s not about being excited to coach that caliber of a player; it’s more about coaching that caliber of a person, and I’m going to miss him when he graduates.”
With the pressure off, Joyner’s attention will now turn to the fall and leaving a mark with the Hatters.
“To see him blossom the way he did during the season, and then this offseason with all the recruitment is great,” Tieri said. “He ultimately felt Boston College was home for him. He wanted to get decision done, and just focus on academics and working on getting on to the next level.”