Jaionte McMillan knew last Friday’s matchup was going to be a tough one. Heading into the game, Dacula was one of the top 5 teams in 6-A and had been read-hot beating several 7-A teams already in the 2019 season. Going up against a team like Dacula, the 5’11” 185 lbs. senior defensive back was going to be tested all night long, so how would he hold up?
His team fell short, but McMillan passed the test, and pulled off one of the best interceptions of the 2019 season. The senior dropped back in cover-2 coverage and made an amazing one-handed snag where he fully extended out in front of the would-be receiver. McMillan’s play was remarkable, but he was not done, in fact, he had bigger plans after the pick.
“Honestly, when I caught it I thought it was a big play, so I tried to make the touchdown,” the senior explained.
He ended up coming short but started his return on the 5 yard line and reversed it all the way back past midfield to the 38 yard line before being tackled out of bounds. The sideline went wild as McMillan flexed with his teammates, and ultimately ended up with 1425 votes, making him 2nd in our weekly top play vote in the state.
By the nights end, Dacula had handed Rockdale County their first lost of the season, and they now sit with a 4-1 record with an upcoming monumental matchup next Friday against undefeated Shiloh. The season has started off great for the Bulldogs, and seniors like McMillan have played a huge role in their early success.
“At the start of the season, my goals were to make first team defense and to make the playoffs as a team for first time in years.”
Making the playoffs will be no easy path for Rockdale, after Shiloh they have a BYE then they play South Gwinnett before they hit the tail-end of their schedule, which looks brutal with Archer, Grayson and Newton in consecutive weeks. The early season momentum the Bulldogs have built will hopefully be a catalyst for the remainder of the season.
What is also building is McMillan’s recruitment during this fall; he says that he is hearing from several colleges at the moment, and has several visits in the works but nothing definitive. We will update when more information is provided on the senior’s visit schedule, but from a cursory look, Kennesaw State definitely has intrigue.
McMillan is certainly playing well in 2019. He is showing good quickness and has speed to cover ground from sideline to sideline that so many defensive coordinators now covet in a free safety prospect.
Over the last year, McMillan has gained 17 lbs. and it certainly looks like there is room for extra muscle to be gained still. Also, there is no-doubt the senior has ball skills; out of his 4 interceptions on the year, McMillan has seemingly made each play highlight worthy, but last Friday’s play against Dacula easily takes the cake as his top play of the 2019 season thus far.
He attributes his improvements to this last offseason, “I feel I improved my game by getting better in coverage and having a better IQ for the game.”
That time has been well spent for McMillan, he is seemingly all over the place making impressive pass breakups, and also getting close to the LOS with forceful tackles too. The senior models his game after one of the great defensive backs from the last 20 years.
“I model my game after Darrelle Revis because I like his coverage skills and ability to come up to make the hit.”
Revis did play some free safety during latter point of his career, which is where McMillan projects best at the college level, but also shows good versatility to play cornerback too. The senior has some explosive senior film and a rock-solid 3.8 GPA, so there should certainly be more colleges hitting up his DM’s in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to @RecruitGeorgia on Twitter to hear the latest on the Rockdale senior and athletes across the Peach State.