Football coach Ray Bonner still can't believe what transpired March 6. Josh Jarboe, one of his favorite players, was arrested at Cedar Grove High School, accused of bringing a stolen gun to school.
Now Jarboe faces two felony gun charges in DeKalb County, Ga., and the possibility of losing his football scholarship to Oklahoma. But Bonner and others say Jarboe isn't someone accustomed to being in trouble. In fact, they say he's been a leader in school and a quality person, despite enduring the loss of both his brother and grandmother in the last year. "I'm so frustrated right now because he is a really good kid,” Bonner said. "To paint that kid as an outlaw, that's not right.” Cedar Grove running back Xavier Avery, who carries a 3.89 grade-point and who will attend Georgia next fall on a football scholarship, said he, too, was shocked when he heard his best friend had been arrested. "He's not a gangster, he's not that type of dude,” Avery said. "After what happened, people were saying he is a bad kid. But I know that's not true. People don't know him like I do.” Both Bonner and Avery have been pillars in Jarboe's life, which has been loaded with tragedy the past year. First, Jarboe was in a horrific auto accident and suffered injuries that doctors first thought would be life-threatening. Later, Jarboe's younger brother was struck by a car and killed at age 14. And one month later, his grandmother, who was like a second mother to him, passed away. "The kid is still going through a lot,” Bonner said. "Losing his little brother, that was his everything. Once that happened, he went into a little bit of a shell, but what kid wouldn't? "He's come so far because of all the things he's been through.” Bonner said Jarboe persevered to become a positive example for the other students. Jarboe was one of the huddle leaders for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Cedar Grove. He also regularly went to the elementary school and read to younger kids. "Every kid in the school, if Josh is doing it, they tend to want to do it,” Bonner said. "He's our leader. Josh is the first kid to get to class out of the halls. It's been like that for the four years I've been around him.” Football, however, has been the primary outlet in Jarboe's life. Considered one of the best wide receiver recruits in the nation, Jarboe was recruited by Florida, Georgia and LSU.