Off the football field, Notasulga’s Jaheim Greer is a quiet, mild-mannered member of the 4-H club and the A-B Honor Roll. When he’s between the white lines, Greer is the heat-seeking missile better known by his coaches and teammates as “The Machine.”
Greer’s machine-like efficiency is well renown, and for good reason. The 6-foot, 175-pound linebacker put together another incredible season for the Blue Devils in 2018, tallying 128 total tackles with 41 tackles for loss and 20 sacks to earn All-State first team honors for the second straight season.
Greer’s success was particularly impressive given he broke his left wrist in September, forcing him to play through the pain.
“I've always got to be on the ball. Always. I love to tackle,” Greer said. “(The injury) hurt, but I managed to get through.”
Notasulga head coach Anthony Jones knew early on that Greer was going to be special, but his stardom would come in due time. Greer started for the Blue Devils as a ninth grader but lacked the football IQ of the older players, which left him relying heavily on his athleticism to make plays.
Greer was racking up tackles even as a freshman, although it meant a lot of excess running to make the plays happen.
“He didn't know what was going on,” Jones said of Greer. “He was just like a baby rattlesnake. They say they don't know how to control their venom, and that's how he was at linebacker. He was going from sideline to sideline. As the years went on, he started to understand how to play better.”
Greer gradually built up the knowledge of how to play the linebacker position, which was evident in a sophomore season in which he had 145 tackles and nine sacks. Jones and Notasulga’s fans had high hopes that Greer could take the next step in 2018, but the injury threw a wrench into those plans.
For most players, a wrist injury would have hampered their play or even forced them to sit out. Greer, however, is not like most players.
“He never whined about it. He never asked about nothing,” Jones said. “He just said, 'Tape it up and let's go.' That's all he ever said.”
Greer not only answered the call at linebacker for Notasulga, but he also filled several other roles for the team. With a brace in place, Greer spent time at tight end catching passes and blocking at fullback, guard and tackle. He got down at defensive end at times and also regularly contributed to the Blue Devils’ special teams.
Jones took a cautious approach with Greer and held him out this spring, although Greer did everything he could to get in on the action. The safe route seems to be working well for the rising senior, who said he’s ahead of schedule on the wrist’s healing and should be full go come fall.
Greer’s outstanding playmaking ability hasn’t gone unnoticed by college football teams. Greer said he’s been hearing from Middle Tennessee State the most lately, with Jones adding that South Alabama and Troy have been in the mix. Jones said Greer has also received looks by coaches from Auburn, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.
Despite being limited this spring, Greer said he’s been working constantly on his hips, his coordination and his play-reading ability to get better. Greer steps in as one of the leaders on a highly-experienced Notasulga squad, and he’s itching to show everyone the Blue Devils should be taken seriously in Class 1A this season.
“I feel like I've got to cherish time because time is passing by fast. I'm ready,” Greer said. “This is my last year, so I've got to turn up. We can't be stopped.”
Greer has made his presence felt on the football field for three years now. When asked what advice he would give an opponent, the young man known as “The Machine” uttered three short words.
“Just be ready,” Greer said.