FAIRMONT — Leading into high school football practice starting on July 30, The Robesonian’s sports staff is publishing a countdown of the top 15 players in Robeson County, and Fairmont’s Xavier Covington comes in at No. 14 on the list.
Covington has heavy weight on his shoulder as a senior leader of the Golden Tornadoes in the defensive backfield. Last season, he tallied 44 tackles and one interception, proving his role as a steady run-stopping defensive back in the Three Rivers Conference where he isn’t needed much in coverage against run-oriented offenses.
The 5-foot-9 defensive back, who will also see time at wide receiver for Fairmont, has a goal for himself this season, far beyond the five picks he wants to haul in.
“I just want to be the best defensive back in Robeson County,” he said. “I can play about anything on defense, safety, corner and I can play in the box like when we played South Columbus. Defense is the main point I excel at.”
Helping him prepare to be a lockdown cornerback is going up against the likes of Duke commit Jordan Waters and Jayvon Morris, the team’s top two receivers from a year ago, in practice.
From that, Covington has grown as a leader leading into his senior season.
“I’m expecting leadership as far as coverages and locking down single receivers, especially against Wing-T because they like to get matchups and load the box so you’ve got a 1-on-1 matchup on the outside,” Inman said. “As a cover corner, he’s very big for us.”
After taking a handful of visits to colleges in the area in the offseason, Covington comes back more driven and focused on his next goal that comes after the season ends in November.
“Going to colleges and seeing their facilities and the things they show me, it makes me want to go harder,” he said. “I want to go there one day and make my family proud. It raises the bar for me to be a better corner back.”
Just like his prediction of being the best defensive back in the county, Covington has one more claim before the season starts.
“I’m really wanting to win the conference this year. I don’t see any players beating us with the players we’ve got and the athleticism on our team,” Covington said.