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LINE OF DEFENSE

—Messenger photo by Britt Kudla Southeast Valley junior lineman Aaron Graves has been named the best junior football player in the state of Iowa by Tom Lemming, a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports.

After he’s finished at Southeast Valley Aaron Graves knows exactly where he will be after graduation.

The junior lineman, who has committed to play at the University of Iowa, has garnered recognition through out his career.

Now he has been recognized as the best junior football player in the state of Iowa by Tom Lemming, who is a recruiting analyst for CBS Sports.

Lemming has tabbed Graves as a Junior All-American as well. Graves will be listed in the Prep Football Report and will also get to play in the All-American football game his senior year.

“It means a lot to me. It’s a great honor being chosen,” Graves said. “But if what I do in college doesn’t reflect what I’m doing now it won’t mean much.

“Being the number one junior in Iowa is very flattering of course, but doesn’t stop me from wanting to continue to improve. I can’t wait for the All-American Bowl once I’m a senior. It will be such a fun experience playing with some of the best in the country.”

Graves, a 6-5, 260 pound lineman for the Jaguars, is excited about the exposure and the chance to play for the Hawkeyes in Iowa City, but knows there is a lot left to accomplish with the Jaguars.

Southeast Valley is currently ranked fifth in Class 1A after winning a district title and received a bye in the first round of the playoffs. They will open postseason play on Friday at home against Belmond-Klemme.

“Our group as a whole knew from the beginning of the season that we could be something special if we put the work in,” Graves said. “After the South Central Calhoun game we all knew going far in the playoffs could be very real for us as long as we stay focused and unsatisfied the rest of the season.

“South Central Calhoun was always a school we never beat so we were more focused than ever for that and the Pocahontas Area game that was for the district championship.”

Graves leads the Jaguars in tackles this season with 40, including 30 solo tackles. He has 14.5 tackles for loss and eight-and-a-half sacks, while recovering two fumbles.

In his career the Hawkeye committee has 109 solo tackles and 147.5 total. He has made 41.5 tackles for loss and has sacked the quarterback 29.5 times. Graves has recovered four fumbles and picked off one pass.

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