Grit, determination shape Buford’s Aiden Jeter into leader
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One of the best qualities an athlete can possess is the ability to know there is still room to grow and hone their skills in their respective sport. An athlete who is what coaches call “coachable” is one of a program’s best assets. They are able to listen to the lessons their coaches are telling them, absorb those lessons and adapt to the situations they are placed in for the good of the team.

Senior Aiden Jeter puts in the work during practice to perfect his craft. Photo by Alicia Payne

Buford High School senior Aiden Jeter is one such player. He took to the sport a little later than most players, starting in his freshman year, but that has not stopped Jeter from becoming a key player on Buford’s team. Jeter primarily plays as a defensive tackle for the defending Class AAAAAA state champions, however, the team will be rotating him into the offensive line throughout the season.

To be a starter for a team like Buford, one must be prepared to work extremely hard. There is always a player waiting in the wings for their chance to have that spot on the field. The commitment needed to measure up to standards expected by Buford’s coaching staff is tough. The hours of practice are endless, often in grueling heat, and excuses are not accepted. 

Admittedly, Jeter was not the best player during his freshman and sophomore years, but he never gave up. He dealt with offseason injuries going into his junior year.

Coach App (head coach Bryant Appling) always preaches on ‘Event + Response = Outcome,'” Jeter said. 

After recovering from injuries but still being toward the bottom of the depth chart for the team going into the summer of his junior year, Jeter knew he had work to do. He found his grit and determination. He worked hard that summer to improve, and by the start of the 2021 season, Jeter had earned a spot in the rotation on the defensive line.

“Difficult events have always been thrown my way, but I respond accordingly, and finish with the outcome I desire,” said Jeter. “Same goes for our team. We’ve had games where we were down 14 and all the odds were against us. We didn’t let that negativity derail us, and we responded the right way to come out on top.”

“He (Jeter) is probably one of the most improved players from his ninth grade year to his senior year that we have seen,” Appling said. “He’s flourished the last two years. His toughness has grown, his strength. He’s grown like three or four inches in the last two years, which helps him out in his position.” 

Jeter has continued to improve. During the summer, he participated in several football camps at colleges like Kennesaw State, Yale, Colombia and Richmond to gain experience and exposure. 

Playing football in college while pursuing a degree, possibly in sports marketing, is Jeter’s goal. He currently holds offers from Georgia Southern University, Grambling State University, Morehouse College and Rochester University. He intends to keep his recruiting window open and said he has a lot to offer college programs. Not only is he athletically gifted, he is strong in academics as well, holding a 3.72 GPA.

As Buford works through its toughest regular season schedule ever on a quest for its first state championship in Class AAAAAAA, look for Jeter to be a key player for the Wolves.

“He’s a leader up front on both sides of the ball and we are looking forward to a big year out of him,” Appling said.

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