Listen to Jonathan Finch talk and you won't hear much about him.
He's a skill position player with the Evans Knights. He piled up a lot of yards last season as a sophomore who wasn't the primary threat, and he heads into 2008 as one of the area's top running backs.
But good luck getting him to tell you that.
When pressured, he'll open up about himself. He'll tell you he's a speed runner with a lot of leg power who makes good decisions. But you have to be persistent.
"My main goal is to focus on the team," Finch said. "I'm going to try to help my teammates and be respectful to them and to the coaches."
Finch maintains a humble attitude as part of a team looking to capitalize on a breakout 2007 season. Last season, he split time in the backfield with senior Trey Henderson.
When Finch took the field, as coach Marty Jackson will tell you, good things happened. He rushed for more than 700 yards on the season -- 248 of them his final three games.
But when Finch took his spot in the backfield, opposing defenses knew he was in the game to run. He needed to prove himself as a receiver.
And so Finch has worked on his receiving -- running drills with the receivers and nailing down his route-running. His coaches took notice.
"I started catching the ball well," Finch said. "They saw I was capable."
The result is a complete back who will not likely cede much time to anyone else in the Knights' backfield this season.
"Finch is going to surprise some people," Jackson said during preseason camp. "He's exciting."
Finch grew up in the football-hungry city of Birmingham, Ala., where he started playing in a recreation league when he was about 9 years old. He grew up rooting for the Auburn Tigers, which gives him something in common with Jackson.
Finch takes some ribbing for his allegiance from his other coaches.
"But it's just talk," he said.
The junior will be more than happy to let his game talk for him when he and the Knights take the field against rival Greenbrier on Friday. Evans will be coming off one of its best seasons, having finished with a 9-3 record and a playoff win. And the Knights will be in a new region, a region some have predicted is there for the Knights' taking.
"That sets a big bar for us," Finch said. "We just have to prove it."
He'll be asked to help lead an offense run by a new quarterback, Troy Griffith, and without the help of Henderson, who will be on the sideline at Coastal Carolina University this fall.
Finch has his own dreams of playing after leaving Evans. But, as usual, he's taking the low-key approach.
"I think I'm able the way I'm performing," he said. "My main focus is to stay on top of my grades."
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