J.B. Favorite may be suiting up for his final football game on Friday, so he’s making sure to savor the moments of this week.
The senior defensive end has poured his heart and soul into the Myrtle Beach program, playing football for coach Mickey Wilson for four years while maintaining excellent grades as a National Honor Society member and being active in the community.
“First, he’s a great leader. He’s a kid that does a lot of things well; he’s a great student, he’s great in our community by working at the Boys and Girls Club (of the Grand Strand) and does a great job over there,” Wilson said of his standout defensive player. “He’s a great young man to have in your program and really does everything right. He’s a pleasure to coach.”
Favorite doesn’t have the prototypical build of a defensive end, which is limiting his recruitment at the next level. Wilson is perplexed by the lack of college offers, as his production on the field and in the classroom is off the charts. That production is one reason he’s been named to the North-South All-Star Football Game to be played at Coastal Carolina on Dec. 15.
“He’s a guy that, if you’re looking at somebody that you want to be a great example for young men – not just on the field but in the hallways, classroom and community – he’s that guy,” Wilson said. “He does what he’s supposed to do and goes above that to be a great representative of his family, Myrtle Beach High School and this program.”
Listed by Myrtle Beach at 6-feet and 245 pounds, Favorite projects as more of a linebacker at the next level, something he’s willing to take on if the need arises.
“I would love to be able to play football at the next level, I love playing the game,” he said at practice on Wednesday. “It’s something that’s still in the works; I’ve been in contact with a few schools and have been to some camps. I’ve been able to get out to some games this season to see some schools.”
As a freshman on the JV team, Favorite played on both the offensive and defensive lines, but coaches saw his budding potential as a defensive end four years ago. Since then, he’s worked to refine his technique, relying on pro players like Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears and Ryan Kerrigan of his favorite team, the Washington Redskins, to give him an advantage in his matchups.
During Myrtle Beach’s playoff run, he’s had a game with six sacks against North Myrtle Beach and numerous tackles for losses against Marlboro County. He also anchored the defensive strategy against Hartsville, where the defensive ends were critical to keeping quarter Tiyon Evans in the pocket.
“All I can remember as a kid is being short and fat. Once I got to high school, I hit a growth spurt but I didn’t really lose any weight, I just got a little faster,” Favorite said. “I try to make sure my responsibility is done on every play, if that’s rushing the passer or reading keys for a run. Being in the right place at the right time is key on defense.”
As he hit the practice field on Wednesday, Favorite had a bit of a somber moment, as it was his last time suiting up for a practice at home.
“I’ve been thinking about that, but it didn’t hit me until this week,” he said. “This is my last game in a Myrtle Beach uniform; [Wednesday] is my last practice at Doug Shaw [Memorial Stadium]. This program has done a lot for me since I was in junior high.”
Although he’s been around Favorite for four years, Wilson saw something change in his defensive captain following his team’s 70-34 loss at Hartsville in Week 11.
“After we got beat by Hartsville, we came back with a different focus and mindset, that’s been something that J.B. has been a leader of for our team,” Wilson said. “All of the seniors have stepped up to keep this season going and have had a great impact on the field.”
After Friday, Favorite is a free agent and the next program to get him will be getting a gem.
State Championship Schedule
At Benedict College
Green Sea Floyds vs. Lamar, 5 p.m.
Abbeville vs. Barnwell, 8 p.m.
At Williams-Brice Stadium
Myrtle Beach vs. Greer, 1 p.m.
Dillon vs. Chester, 4 p.m.
Dutch Fork vs. TL Hanna, 7:30 p.m.
Friday’s A and 2A games will be streamed on www.nfhsnetwork.com (subscription required).
The Class 3A, 4A and 5A games will be will be streamed on www.nfhsnetwork.com and carried in Florence/Myrtle Beach on WWMB CW21, and in other parts of the state they will be televised on WACH Fox 57.2 (TWC 1250), WCIV 36.1 (MyTV Charleston) in Charleston, and on WMYA MyTV 40 in Asheville/Greenville. The Myrtle Beach-Greer game will be broadcast on BOB 104.9 FM.