Boston Emerging as Playmaker in Rattlers’ Defense
By St. Clair Murraine
Outlook staff writer
Finally, the FAMU defense is emerging. That was obvious as the unit scored its second touchdown of the season for the Rattlers against Delaware State a week ago.
The score came from senior linebacker Akil Blount, the same player who got the Rattlers’ first defensive score earlier in the season.
But while Blount, Kashawn Butler and Jacques Bryant have been in the spotlight, safety John Boston has been flying under the radar.
No more. Boston’s game-changing play has made him the anchor of FAMU’s secondary.
Even the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference has taken notice, naming him the defensive player of the week on Oct. 19.
“John does a good job of paying attention to details in his work,” said coach Alex Wood. “He is excited about playing and he’s done a good job; not only on defense but on special teams as well.”
The day that Boston made the team as a walk-on three years ago, he did so with a sense of purpose. He wanted to prove he belonged, especially for his father who died before Boston turned 10 years old.
Not having his father, who succumbed to lung cancer, has been a driving force, he said, as well as his motivation to succeed.
“It’s just hard growing up without a father but I’ve had so many father-figures growing up with coaches,” Boston said. “It’s a big step without him being there. I just want to make him proud every day.”
Boston showed his penchant for hawking the ball early last season when he scooped up a Miami fumble in the end zone. It turned out to be the Rattlers only score in a lopsided win for the Hurricanes, but it validated Boston as a contributor for the Rattlers.
“Most definitely it was a confidence booster making plays against a top-level team like (Miami),” Boston said. “Knowing that, you just want to keep going and making plays and being successful.”
Boston’s seven team-leading tackles against the Hornets give him 40 for the season. He also had a sack, a forced fumble, with a tackle for loss and an interception in the homecoming win.
Having a gangbuster like Boston in the last line of defense is comforting, Blount said.
“Knowing, as a linebacker, that you have a guy behind you that you can trust I’m just glad that he is having a senior year this big,” Blount said.
Boston’s emergence couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Rattlers prepare to face one of the MEAC’s offensive powers in North Carolina A&T on Saturday. Stopping the Aggies’ running back Tarik Cohen, who is coming off a 137-yards rushing performance this past weekend, will be their biggest test.
Boston is ready for it.
“It’s going to be a big challenge,” he said, “but we’ve got to do what we have to do to stop the run.”