For Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, Clay County is home.
Most Jaguars fans live and die by their pride for Duval County, with “Duuuuvallll” chants becoming the area’s rallying cry. And Quarterman is no different, with the 904 area code being as much of a part of him as anything else.
Quarterman is a Clay County native, the county that neighbors and borders Duval. And he is one of the area’s proudest sons, spending the last two seasons playing for his hometown team in front of crowds that saw him play Pop Warner, middle school, high school, and college at Miami.
As such, it only makes sense for Quarterman to continue to keep his bond with Clay County close. He is one of the standards of which all Clay high school athletes one day want to meet. And on Wednesday, he got a chance to see that first-hand as he greeted students, coaches, athletes and more at the 2022 Clay County Athletics Award show.
“It means a lot, you know. In just five short years man I’ve seen a lot of things change and just to be able to come back and see the schools that I used to compete against, you know, still producing these great athletes, and these parents showing up for their children, I think is really amazing,” Quarterman told Jaguar Report at the ceremony.
“You know, I just encourage them to keep doing what they are doing. Because they are doing something right to be here man. We got a lot of first-team real, real deal athletes, so I’m happy.”
Quarterman was one in the spot the same young athletes were in on Wednesday night. Beaming with pride, standing at the top of their respective sports and age groups, and with an entire future and lofty goals and aspirations ahead of them.
In 2020, the Jaguars officially brought Quarterman home by selecting him in the fourth round with the No. 140 overall selection. Quarterman played his high school ball at nearby Oakleaf High School, earning the honor of being named Regional Defensive Player of the Year by The Florida Times-Union in his senior season. He played football at Orange Park Athletic Association as a child and played middle school football at Oakleaf Junior High School.
In short, Quarterman is as Clay County as it gets. If you play football in the area, you know his name because it is a name many want to one day call a peer. Quarterman made it from Clay County athletics all the way to the sport’s highest level in the NFL, giving inspiration to student-athletes throughout his home region that they can do the same.