Jaggers finally finds home at Campbellsville

August 17, 2004


CAMPBELLSVILLE - Josh Jaggers has felt the rush of running through the tunnel at Commonwealth Stadium into the roar created by 70,000 fans.

But now he feels right at home at school where the crowd on a typical football Saturday could be contained in three or four sections of the state's largest stadium.

The third and final stop in Jaggers' college football odyssey is at Campbellsville, and he said it's the school he wishes he had found first.


"I love the place," he said. "I probably should've come down here from the get-go."

Jaggers landed at Campbellsville last season after struggling to find happiness and playing time first at Kentucky, then at Eastern Kentucky.

He stepped in as the Tigers' starting center and was on the field for all but a handful of the team's offensive plays. And he's looking forward to playing his second and final season.

"I'm going to try to bottle up everything I've been taught, everything I've learned since I was 8 or 9 years old, and I'm going to go down swinging."

That the Danville High School graduate kept swinging away after getting knocked down a couple of times is a testament to his determination to succeed. It may have taken him more than one try, but he said he has found his niche.

"I had a good time at UK and Eastern, and I learned things there," he said. "And going out in front of all those fans at Georgia or South Carolina is something only a few people get to experience.

"But I'll say this: When I left UK, I wish I'd come straight here."

Jaggers never got into a game at Kentucky, and he played only sparingly at Eastern. He recognizes the cynicism that comes with two transfers, but he said he's a better player for having been exposed to the programs of Guy Morriss, Roy Kidd and his current coach, Mark Peach.

"Some people say, 'Hell, that kid's transferred three times,'" he said. "But I've been in three systems compared to a lot of guys who've just been in one, and I've learned every aspect of the game there is."

Jaggers said Peach and his staff know their football well.

"From top to bottom, they're just as good as it gets," Jaggers said. "Coach Peach went 9-2 last year (in his first season), and that was a learning year.

And he said the Campbellsville coaches' approach to the game mirrors his.

"I've always loved it, but I'll never live it," he said. "When you get to that point, it kind of breaks you down. At some points (at Kentucky and Eastern), it got to the point where I didn't care anything about it.

"Those Saturdays are fun, but some of the other 364 days aren't as fun as people think they are. They take it just as seriously here as UK or Eastern, but I don't think I've dreaded one part of football since I've been here."

Jaggers spent part of his summer working in construction and lawn care, and he spent a great deal of time with a group of friends - one of his close friends on his team is former high school rival Matt Quinn - often on Green River Lake or Lake Cumberland or a nearby golf course.

"I still find time for camping out and fishing and golfing," he said.

The 285-pound Jaggers said he also spent time in the weight room in hopes that more strength will help him at his new favorite position.

"I'd play whatever they want me to play, but it's been my favorite position I've ever played," he said.

Jaggers has another position as one of the Tigers' six captains, a title he takes with pride.

"I don't really talk too much about any of the accolades I've gotten, but I'm awful proud of that," he said. "I take an awful lot of pride in that, especially being down here only one year."

He has a major in public relations and a minor in business, and he said he hopes to get into the field of pharmaceutical sales after his graduation next spring. But coaching football is in his blood - father Marty coached at Lincoln County and is an assistant at Danville, and grandfather Joe ranks among the state's top coaches in all-time wins - and he said he imagines himself on the sideline someday.

"I'll probably end up teaching and coaching one day," he said. "I couldn't imagine not walking up and down a high school football field on Friday night."|None|***

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