Player of the Week: Columbia DL Jaheim Oatis

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 11:35 PM CDT
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COLUMBIA, Miss. (WDAM) - Jaheim Oatis has been the biggest kid in Columbia since the 8th grade.

Back then he stood 6-foot-4, 287 pounds – and swiftly received a scholarship offer from Nick Saban at the University of Alabama.

The defensive tackle’s grown even more since 2017 (now standing 6-foot-5, 370 pounds), but not just physically. Oatis has grown into a young man and a heck of a football player.

“He’s an All-American kid,” said Columbia head coach Chip Bilderback. “He works really hard, he’s a great teammate. He loves the city of Columbia, he loves Columbia High School. It goes back to he really, really wants to win and that’s important to him. He wants Columbia to be a team that’s remembered. I think that’s what motivates him on a daily basis.”

“We work hard, take one game at a time,” Oatis said. “Our biggest thing is play as a family, as brothers.”

Oatis helped set the tone for the Wildcats in a massive region win over Poplarville on Friday – tallying 12 tackles, five of them behind the line of scrimmage.

Even when he’s not filling the stat sheet, Oatis makes an impact every snap he’s on the field.

“His presence out there, he’s going to get double-teamed, sometimes even triple-teamed,” Bilderback said. “They’re always going to account for him and that creates mismatches for the rest of the guys and that’s what really helps us.”

“Whatever team we play my coach tells me that I’m going to get cut-blocked and double-teamed every game I play,” Oatis said. “I just got to step up and play a bigger part to help the team.”

It’s quite clear Oatis cares about winning – one reason he’s committed to the Alabama.

When Oatis is packing his bags for Tuscaloosa next year, he’d like a state championship ring to be among the cargo.

“I know when I leave to go up there I gotta bring my A-game,” Oatis said. “I gotta work hard.”

“He’ll be at a place where everyone is a lot like him and he’ll have to be pushed every single day,” Bilderback said. “The one thing I know about Jaheim Oatis is he’s not one to run away from competition or a challenge.”

Columbia (8-1) hosts Lawrence County on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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