Article written by site contributor Gabriel Stovall – follow him on Twitter @GabrielStovall1
ALPHARETTA, Ga. — When Ze’Vian Capers opens his mouth to discuss his role as the likely go-to wide receiver for a brand-spanking new football program in Forsyth County, he sounds like a human football lexicon.
“When I was at South Forsyth last year, I typically played the X,” Capers said. “Outside receivers. They used me primarily on deep routes, nine routes, fades, post patterns and comebacks. I felt it was a good season, but I also felt like I could do more.”
Then he discusses his expected place in upstart Denmark’s offense.
“At Denmark, I’m going to play the Z,” he said. “They’ll put me in motion, utilize me on crossing route and digs. They can float me to any position and that allows me to pretty much run everything.”
If it sounds like Capers is a student of the game of football, it’s because he absolutely is. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound rising junior already holds six Division I scholarship offers, including from the likes of Power Five juggernauts like Clemson. But mastering the intricacies of the X’s and O’s is what juices him up, even more than the attention of college football bluebloods.
“I study maybe an hour and a half or two hours of film on my own,” Capers said. “On the offensive side of the ball, I look for how my quarterback throws the ball and when. So if I were to run a dig, I’m checking to see if I should look for it in the front, behind, high or low. I critique these things to try to understand what’s best for my quarterback and curtail it to what’s best for me.
“On the defensive side, I’m going to look at the line, look at the gaps they have to cover. I’m looking for whether the linebackers are blitzing a, b or c gap. I’m watching the corners, looking for if they’re running cover two or three. I want to see if safeties are in the right spot. I want to know what everyone’s doing on the field.”
But listening to him talk, it’s obvious the studious approach isn’t reserved exclusively for football.
Capers holds a just-above-3.0 grade point average. He wants to major in physical therapy. He has aspirations to open up his own gym to help tutor anyone from kids to grown men and women about how to get the most out of their bodies.
He gets it honestly.
“I was just raised to be that way,” Capers said. “Both my parents were athletes. My mother did volleyball and my dad played basketball and football. They always tell me to do something no one’s ever done before. And since they’ve said that, I used that as motivation.”
That motivation fueled Capers to a team-leading 42 catches and 600 receiving yards as a sophomore at South Forsyth last year. He added four touchdown receptions with two of those scoring grabs coming against crosstown rival West Forsyth that helped propel South to a region championship.
Can you guess what he chose to do after the post game celebration?
“I went home that night as soon as the game was over, and I watched a little bit of the film and saw myself in that same game,” he said. “It added fuel to the fire. It made me believe I could really be a great player at the next level, and even then I started asking, ‘What do I have to do every day to improve and get better at my craft?’”
So far, five Power Five schools, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Louisville and South Carolina, have thought enough of his ability to offer him a scholarship. Schools such as Georgia and Florida State are quickly taking notice.
And make no mistake, the scholarship offers are great. But Capers has put enough time into carving out his desires for the right college that he won’t allow himself to be roped along by the hype.
“First off, what I look for is academics,” he said. “I analyze each school that offers or that I’m interested in and look to see what their graduation rate is for football players. Secondly, I look at the coaching staff and watch for chemistry. Do they get along with each other? Do they have a great relationship with the players? Third, I want a place where I feel at home. Do they have a good quarterback and the kind of offense that fits my skill set?”
And then there’s the proximity angle.
“I really would love to stay closer to home, like South Carolina, where my parents are from or Georgia,” he said.
With each piece of camp or workout footage that sneaks out into social media world, Capers’ star brightens and his stock rises. But the consensus three-star prospect, who also plays safety, knows he’s still got two more years of high school to hone his skills, round into a complete receiver and help put Denmark on the fast track to playing winning football.
He says that, and not the recruiting process, is where he’ll invest most of his energy, starting in August when Denmark football kicks off for the first time.
“My biggest motivation is just me pushing myself and my team’s limits,” he said. “When it’s hot and I’m doing 15 40s and it’s blazing heat outside, I just try to see how much my body can take at the end of the day and make it better.”
It’s because he realizes making himself better can only positively impact his team.
“I’m excited about what we have at Denmark,” he said. “My quarterback Ben Whitlock, he’s been throwing good all summer. You can see he’s getting better with arm strength and footwork. We’re building chemistry through 7-on-7s and camps. I would love to have 1,200 yards receiving, 12 touchdowns and four interceptions as a safety, but more than that, I just want us to win and win right away.”