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JM’s Preston makes college choice

By Adam Himmelsbach

James Monroe running back Ethan Preston has committed to play football at the Virginia Military Institute, Yellow Jackets coach Richard Serbay said yesterday.

Last season Preston had 219 carries for 1,907 yards and 33 touchdowns. He led the Yellow Jackets to the Group AA, Division 3 title game, where they lost to Brookville.

Preston was an all-state defensive lineman as a junior but played almost exclusively on offense this year.

Serbay said the Keydets recruited Preston as a running back.

“He’s a versatile athlete with speed,” Serbay said of Preston. “They like his toughness. It’s a really good fit for him.”

Preston compiled his eye-popping numbers for JM despite rarely receiving second-half carries this season.

The Yellow Jackets, who started 13–0, usually had such a comfortable lead that Preston was allowed to rest.

Last month, Preston said he was considering VMI, Ferrum, Christopher Newport and North Carolina Central, among other schools.

Serbay said he had numerous opportunities to attend Football Championship Subdivision universities as a preferred walk-on.

“VMI did a really good job recruiting him,” Serbay said. “They targeted him, and they got him.”

Despite his dominant season, Preston struggled with fumbles a bit in the state tournament.

He said he needed to recover from a hand injury, and he said his rare missteps have motivated him during the offseason.

“I just want to get faster than I am now,” Preston said. “I just need to keep working.”

—Taft Coghill Jr. contributed to this report

 Adam Himmelsbach: 540/374-5442