Duluth's Jarvis will watch M.L. King on signing day

The recently hired head football coach at Duluth High School has the same kind of enthusiasm for a new job as he did when he took over the M.L. King program in 2005.

But he’s also somewhat sad to leave just before his final group of seniors sign scholarships, including AJC Super 11 tailback Mack Brown, who is expected to sign with Florida on Wednesday.

“It’s my last group, and I’m going to miss them,” said Jarvis. “It’s bittersweet to know I’m leaving something I helped build. ... Those are my kids.”

Jarvis didn’t have a losing season while at the DeKalb County school. The Lions were 49-11 in his five seasons, including a 12-1 record and a state quarterfinal appearance in 2007. M.L. King was 10-2 in 2009.

At Duluth, a Gwinnett County school, Jarvis takes over a program that hasn’t had had a winning season since 1995 and hasn’t won more than two games in a season since 2003.

Brown, a 5-foot-11, 192-pound tailback with reported 4.38 speed in the 40, said his teammates “were down” when Jarvis announced his decision in December, but most understood and were OK with his decision.

“He’s a great coach,” said Brown, ranked by most recruiting services as one of the nation’s best tailbacks. “He did a lot for me and my family, made me a better player and a better person.”

Jarvis started work at Duluth this term and wasn’t sure this week if he would be able to celebrate in person with his former players on signing day.

He estimated that more than 50 of his M.L. King players went on to play college football his first four seasons.

Brown, who said his commitment to Florida is solid, is at the top of the class. Two others have committed -- linebacker Rahmon Swain (Kent State) and defensive end Fred Allen (Morehead State) -- but Jarvis said more than 10 players could sign, and perhaps as many as 15 total could eventually land college deals.

Jarvis said he will at least stay connected via phone on signing day.

“I was thinking I was going to be there [at M.L. King High] until signing day, but I also knew I had to be over here,” he said. “If there’s a chance to be with them, I will.”

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