Covington head coach J.R. Kirby is very open about the fact that several talented Charger football players over the years never played in college because they did not take care of business in the classroom.
When Jalen Fayne and Kirby made several recruiting trips to schools like Tennessee, Memphis, Arkansas State and Austin Peay, they were able to show that Fayne had the grades, yet no offers came.
“It was very frustrating,” Kirby said. “We kept getting told ‘no.’ I just didn’t understand it … He kept telling me, ‘I’m a good player and I’ve got the grades.’ Me telling him, as a coach, this is what you have to do and it’s not happening, it was tough.”
“I ain’t going to lie,” Fayne said. “it was a very stressful process. You never know what the college coach is thinking. You go there and do your thing but you don’t hear from them. It’s stressful because you never know, but you just keep working.”
His hard work, on the field and in the classroom, finally paid off when Missouri Southern offered Fayne a scholarship. In front of family, coaches and teammates Friday afternoon, Fayne made is college choice official when he signed a letter of intent.
Missouri Southern, a DII school in Joplin, Mo., is getting a very versatile player. During his time at Covington he played running back, linebacker and quarterback and also returned kickoffs and punts. He’s runs a 4.4 40-yard-dash and at 6-0, 180 pounds, has the size to play multiple positions.
“Losing him is like losing five or six kids,” Kirby said.
Fayne was named all-state this past season while rushing for 1,018 yards and 13 touchdowns to help lead the Chargers to the state quarterfinals.
Kirby said although the defensive backs coach at Missouri Southern recruited Fayne, he would not be surprised to see Fayne play slot receiver or running back in college.
He comes for a very athletic family. His older brother, K.J. Fayne, played football in college and his sister, Felia Fayne, plays basketball at Itawamba Community College. Felix Fayne, Jalen’s dad and an assistant coach at Covington, was a standout player at Brighton High School and also played in college.
Fayne noticed that some of his talented teammates over the years never made it to college. He vowed that was not the path he was going to take.
“Yeah, that was very important to me,” Fayne said. “My dad played in college but didn’t play the whole time. I want to get there and make it even further.”