In the backfield or on the lake, Wayne’s Hammonds chasing his next great catch

Warriors defensive end, a Marshall commit, leads GWOC in tackles for loss

HUBER HEIGHTS — Javon Hammonds never stops chasing, never stops catching. And he’s always coming fast.

The No. 9 in a Wayne football uniform, it feels like, spends almost as much time in the backfield as the quarterbacks and running backs he chases and catches. The senior defensive end’s numbers are proof.

Through six games and Wayne’s 5-1 start, 17.5 of his 45 tackles are tackles for loss. He’s been credited with three sacks. Last year in 11 games, Hammonds had 21 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and 83 tackles. He has enjoyed particular success against Springfield with 4.5 tackles for loss in defeat in 2022 and 6.5 in this season’s 27-22 victory.

Those gaudy TFL numbers led the GWOC last year and they lead the GWOC this year. His sack total last year tied for the GWOC lead.

“My big thing is my speed,” said Hammonds, who is 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds. “A lot of people think he’s a pretty big guy, he’s not going to be moving that fast. People don’t know I used to play running back, so I kept that agility and speed. That’s played a big factor in me getting off the ball.”

Hammonds credits the work of the Wayne’s entire front seven for giving him opportunities to be a playmaker and a difference maker.

“It’s hard to choose who you want to block because if you want to triple-team, double-team somebody, somebody else is going to get open regardless,” he said. “That’s what our whole front seven does.”

Hammonds’ ability, speed, size and production gained the interest of college football recruiters. He is rated a three-star prospect and is considered the No. 37 prospect overall in Ohio on the 24/7 Sports composite index. According to 24/7, he earned offers from Pittsburgh, Indiana, Purdue, Marshall, Miami, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Kent State, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan and Massachusetts.

The offer he accepted earlier this month was Marshall’s. One of the coaches that recruited him is defensive line coach Ralph Street. He played at Marshall from 1998-2001 and was voted the MAC’s best defensive lineman.

“As soon as I walked in the door, I just knew that’s my guy,” Hammonds said. “Coach Street, he really felt me, it really hit home for me. When I went up there on my official visit nothing felt pressured. My decision to choose them was the best for me.”

Hammonds felt free to choose Marshall despite offers from two Big Ten programs and one from the ACC.

“At the end of the day, I’m getting my school paid for, regardless, and my mom doesn’t have to worry about any of that kind of stuff,” he said. “I’m not going to go to a school just because of its name. My dad told me whatever fits you the best, wherever fits you the most, is where you should go.”

The bonus for Hammonds is that he and Street share a love for fishing. Hammonds learned it from his stepdad, John Barlow, on frequent trips to Caesar Creek Lake. He likes looking for catfish, topwater casting for bass from their bass boat and even deep-sea fishing. Street likes jigging and going after crappie.

“He told me about a couple spots we’re going to go to together when I go back down,” Hammonds said. “He takes a lot of his guys out. So even if they don’t like fishing, he still takes them out.”

Hammonds won’t have to asked. Next to catching ballcarriers, it doesn’t get any better for him than letting life slow down and catching fish.

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