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He’s a winner in school, and Xavier Essex’s success in the classroom helps him win on the football field.

“In math class, I have to analyze problems in order to solve them,” said Essex, an eighth grade Honor Roll student at Annapolis Area Christian Middle School in Maryland. “I use the same skills to analyze things on the field. In some classes, we work together as a group on projects, which teaches me how to work with my classmates. Everyone has a responsibility to get their part done, just like on the football field.”

Playing quarterback for the Howard County Terps, Essex got it done in a big way this season. While leading the Terps to a 7-2 record and the championship game, he connected on 39-of-54 passes for 645 yards and 8 touchdowns.

“I’m happy that we learned to play together and be supportive of each other in order to be successful as a team,” Essex said. “By playing together, we were able to win most of our games this season. My goal was to be a positive role player on my team and help them win the Super Bowl. I also wanted to give myself options for high school and improve my mechanics and ability to throw in a competitive league.”

The best thing about setting goals is ultimately reaching them, and Essex was able to do that.
“I have to give credit to my great offensive line,” he said. “They allowed me time to execute plays and they are the players that make me better.”

Playing the position for eight years, Essex has blossomed into one of the top eighth grade QBs in the nation. He is an extremely accurate as a passer and able to read and react to opposing defenses.
“I’m working to improve my leadership skills,” Essex said. “I need to show better leadership, be more vocal.”

That is another goal he will ultimately accomplish. Winning the Duel was also on the list, and Essex finished first among incoming eighth graders at NFA’s showcase competition in July.

“I was honored to receive an invitation to the Duel (in Charlotte, N.C.),” he said. “I felt great that I was able to compete and win it. It was a great experience with great competition, and I was able to use the same focus techniques for the Duel that I used for my season.”

Essex has been training with NFA for four years, and the experience has had a profound impact on his overall development.

“NFA has helped me in many ways,” he said. “They taught me not to have unnecessary movements and to have better form when going through the throwing motion and throw with more power. NFA has also taught me that I’m here for the other players to serve, that it’s not just about me. I’ve learned how to be a better teammate, student, friend and son.”

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