Staff Photo: Jason Braverman. Jason Threat is the President of the Lilburn Youth Football Association and was also the Daily Post's Defensive Player of the Year in 1998.
Jason Threat, 28, is the president of the Lilburn Youth Football Association. Threat is a 1999 graduate of Berkmar, where he was a standout football player. He was the Daily Post's defensive player of the year in 1998 and signed a scholarship with Liberty University. Threat transferred to Gardner-Webb after one season and was an All-American for Bulldogs, leading the team to two Big South Conference championships. He received his bachelor's degree in physical education and works as a contractor now. Threat and is wife Katriece have three kids -- Jayoland, 8, Journey, 5, and Joshua, 3.
In this latest installment of "Getting to Know ...," staff writer Brandon Brigman talks to Threat about the Lilburn Youth Football Association, coaching his son and his high school playing days.
BB: How do you feel like you can help the Lilburn Youth Football Association as president?
JT: Just by being young and having the energy to go out and beat the bush and get things done as far as raising money and bringing kids back to the organization. I'm working with some other people in the area like the FCA, Lilburn Christian Athletic Association, trying to affiliate with them to kind of build Bryson Park and make it big. I'm affiliated with a bunch of associations to kind of blossom Lilburn and bring the athletics back to the community, just like it is at Shiloh or Mill Creek where everything is in house. Right now all we do is football, so when football season is over with our kids go to other places to play basketball, baseball and so forth. We're trying to reinstall that at Lilburn.
BB: What separates the Lilburn Youth Football from other leagues?
JT: Just the consistency. We're a floating organization. We don't have a park of our own. We operate out of the two cluster high schools in Berkmar and Meadowcreek. There's a lack of consistency because we have some events at Berkmar and some at Meadowcreek. It's kind of difficult as a floating association to not have a home of your own. Financially, we're not where some other associations are. We don't have that big financial support like some other associations, but that's a small hurdle in my opinion. If you go out there and sell these kids that they are an investment and present it that way the financial support will come. But people are reluctant to put the money out there when there's inconsistency in the program and that's what we're working on right now.
BB: How much of an impact did youth football have on you and your career?
JT: Tremendous. Tremendous. I played since I was 8 years old in the Gwinnett Football League. It just installed discipline, camaraderie, it did wonders for me. Football has been my outlet forever. It's been my way to deal with things. Some people have hobbies, they do other things to free their mind, football was always mine. It's been big on me. I can still remember my coaches from when I was 8 years old all the way up until I was 12. I played at Norcross growing up and then went to Berkmar. I remember every coach coming up and still have a pretty good relationship with a lot of them.
BB: You coached your son Jayoland's team last season. Was that tough for you?
JT: It was fun. I'm not one to really push. I ask him if he wants to play. If we wants to play, that's fine. My son is not the quarterback, he's not running back. He plays noseguard and offensive guard for me. That's where he's best at. We don't do daddy ball. I give every kid the same opportunity. When I see him make a play I probably get more excited than most kids. But I have 16 players and I treat them all like my sons. Inside, yeah, I might hoot and holler a little louder when he makes a big play, but everything is level on our team.
BB: Where he is now, is he better than his old man?
JT: (Smiles) Oh no, man. I was a stud at 8 years old. I was a wrecking ball. He's a smaller guy. At 8 years old I was a beast. I was bigger than the other kids, stronger. I ripped the field up at 8 years old. He's almost there. He had a coming out game the last game of the season. He wrecked shop and had about 12 tackles and I was proud of that. At 8 years old, it was week in and week out for me.
BB: You were a two-time all-conference selection in college and an All-American. You were also the Daily Post's defensive player of the year in high school. That's probably the biggest award you ever got, right?
JT: That's the biggest article I got. Yeah, definitely.
BB: You tell people that's pretty much the equivalent to the Heisman Trophy, right?
JT: Nah, but I probably should. That would probably be a good Applebee's story (laughs). That was a good award. We had a good season that year. We had a real good team. We lost a couple of games by a couple of points. I think we lost four games by 11 points that year. We beat Parkview and they came back and took the win away from us. We beat Clarke Central, which we had never beaten, and they were a powerhouse in Athens at the time.
BB: Does the Parkview loss sting since they were the defending state champions and it was taken away for using an ineligible player?
JT: It stung at the time, it kind of hurt. I think it hurt our playoff chances. Another win in our region would have put us in the playoffs. But not too much anymore.
BB: Who was the toughest player you went up against your senior year?
JT: Oh man. Parkview had a good scheme against me. As far as one-on-one player, nobody. Parkview had a good scheme against me. I think that was the least tackles I had at nine. Against everybody else I was having 15 or 16.
BB: The correct answer would have been against me at Shiloh High School.
JT: Oh really?
BB: No, I'm just kidding. I had a hard time blocking you and I think you had a pretty good game. But we did beat you guys 20-17 on a field goal and then in overtime.
JT: Yeah, I remember that game. That was a good game, too.
BB: Do you still follow Gwinnett County football?
JT: Somewhat. I watched a couple of Berkmar games last year. I plan to be more involved there this year. I like to look at the big names and see where they go and try to follow those guys.
BB: Do you feel like what you can do with the youth association can help out the high schools like Berkmar and Meadowcreek?
JT: Definitely. It all starts there. That's the overall goal, to build a youth program so that it directly feeds into Berkmar and Meadowcreek. You know Lilburn has an abundance of talent and sometimes they get pulled out by other schools. What we want to do is build our reputation so we can keep those kids and those kids want to stay and graduate from Berkmar and Meadowcreek. We have to establish that tradition like everyone else does. Like your Graysons, your Brookwoods, your Parkviews. You have to establish that winning tradition. Not that you have to go to the championship every year, but you have to compete and contend every year for your region and that's where we want to go. I think that does start with the feeder program.
BB: What's the biggest difference between high school and college football?
JT: Everybody in college is working out, everybody. In high school some guys are working out, some guys aren't. In college, everybody is bigger, faster, stronger. That's the biggest thing and the crowds. The followings you get is a good thing. You still have guys that were alumni from 30 years ago and they still come support the college game.
BB: What are you summer plans, taking any vacations?
JT: I might shoot down to the country in Alabama for a weekend or something. Just hang out down there, go four wheeling, a bunch of different stuff in the country. The kids like it. Go down there and pop fireworks and things.
BB: Have you been following the other kind football, the World Cup soccer lately?
JT: Oh yeah. The excitement, man, it's crazy. A hundred thousand people cheering, that's crazy. The Hispanic guys that work for me they took off the first game. What can you say? It's like the equivalent to the Olympics. I've been watching the USA. I think they got robbed against Slovenia. I don't understand all the rules but I follow it.
BB: What was your first car?
JT: Oh man, first car. '72 Cadillac Sedan Deville, doo-doo brown.
BB: How did you get that?
JT: I bought it myself. I worked for the money and my dad called and said he saw a car for me. I did drywall all through the summer, so I worked all summer. My dad said he had this car, so I went and got it. I paid $1,500. It was a tank.
BB: What's your longterm future with the Mustangs?
JT: I'm locked in as president for this year and next year. The longterm goal is get everything up and running at Bryson Park. That's the goal of our association, to have that park ours. I want to do soccer, basketball, baseball, football, just build an overall athletic association.