Memorial defensive back Jelani Chevalier is more than “the other corner”

Published 12:27 am Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Memorial corner Jelani Chevalier was so nervous before his first varsity game last season that he dropped the first kick that came his way.

As a sophomore, he was a starting defensive back on the district’s top defense and played opposite of one of the state’s top defensive backs in Jaylon Guilbeau.

“We told him last year that he is going to get thrown at more,” Head Coach Brian Morgan said. “It is the nature of the game. I have a sophomore and a junior that is heavily recruited. They are going to throw at the sophomore more. He was up to the challenge. He was probably under more pressure than other people, because if people were going to throw, they were going to go to him first.”

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Chevalier felt the pressure early on but was able to settle in quickly.

“I was so nervous,” he said. “I would get in the game and just black out. Now, I just go out there and play.”

The corner said his favorite play was the only pick he recorded against La Porte. Chevalier said he hopes to get to at least five this season.

“I also want to make more tackles,” he said. “I have been working a lot on attacking the ball, too.”

Morgan said Chevalier’s personality fits the team well.

“He is a really competitive dude,” Morgan said. “He does everything right all of the time. Sometimes, I think he gets overshadowed by some of the other names on the team.

“He is a class behind them, but if you watch his film from last year, his skill level and technique even as a sophomore is above other really good sophomores of their time. His trajectory is really good.”

Despite his competitive nature on the field, Chevalier is quiet and calm, according to his coach.

“If you walked in the building and weren’t looking for him, you wouldn’t know that he is here,” Morgan said. “He just goes about his business. He is where he is supposed to be and doing what he is supposed to be doing. Just a great kid. He is a really good worker.

“You are not going to see him on social media a lot. He is not going to walk around and talk about himself, but he is going to work his butt off.”

The Titans travel to Prairie View A&M to take on Lancaster at 7 p.m. Friday.