Coach: 2020 OL Jimmy Christ Comes From Fine Family

January 11, 2019
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Perhaps the best compliment Karl Buckwalter could give Jimmy Christ‍ – pronounced Crist – is the simplest one the head coach at Dominion High School could give the 2020 Virginia offensive lineman.

“Jimmy is a Christ,” Buckwalter says.

Buckwalter knows as well as anybody what that means, having coached three of Jimmy’s older brothers and having coached with their father Mike.

“Whenever anybody around here says the word ‘Christ’ you just know you’re getting one of the nicest, politest kids off the field and you’re getting one of the meanest, nastiest – and I mean this in the best way – kids on the field,” Buckwalter continues. “They are relentless and they block to the echo of the whistle.”

Mike Christ played defensive line at Navy and his children have certainly followed that athletic path.

“It’s very, very rare,” says Buckwalter. “There are six children in that family and they’re all Division-I kids. They’re very driven and they’re very disciplined and dedicated. Jimmy is the fourth boy that I’ve had the pleasure of coaching.

“His oldest brother, Mike, is graduating from Monmouth after playing at Monmouth. Then, Matt, who is a lineman at Virginia Tech, and then there is Tommy, who starts as a redshirt freshman at UVA. Jackie is his sister who is committed to Appalachian State for basketball. And then there is Jimmy and then there’s Katie. Katie is in eighth grade. She’s already getting attention for basketball and volleyball.”

Jimmy, a 6-foot-6, 280-pound junior, is already attracting attention from some of college football’s major programs with offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Boston College, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia among others.

“When Mike Jr. and Matt and Tommy were all going to these one-day camps all across the country, Jimmy was in tow and would go through it as well,” says Buckwalter. “When he was in seventh or eighth grade, he was going through what the big guys were going through. He was getting thrown around and learning the ropes at an early age.”

Buckwalter says one reason Jimmy has flourished so far is the relentless nature he’s displayed.

“Once he’s done his block, he goes to the next one,” the coach says. “It’s not just that he blocks one guy and pancakes him, he’s looking to the next guy and continuing on his path. I think that’s the next step that people were looking for. He’s one of the premier kids in the country no doubt.

“Jimmy is the biggest of all of them. I don’t know if he’s the most athletic because Tommy was really athletic, but with a lot of work, Jimmy has just evolved into this phenomenal athlete who can run, is long and is very, very driven just like the rest of them are. He’s watched his brothers and his sisters to learn what it’s like to be a Division-I kid. He’s taken that to even more heart and worked extra hard on the little things that mean so much for him to get there.”

He has that strong desire to continue improving. Christ was in San Antonio last week for the Underclassman All-American Combine.

“He said he was in the top group for one-on-ones, you win some and you lose some, he was going against the cream of the crop,” his coach says. “The things that he did well, he’ll continue to work on and flourish with those, but it’s when he got beat. He takes that to heart.

“He’s like, ‘OK, I got beat on this. I need to work on all of the different techniques.’ He’s not one of those kids who says, ‘OK, I did really well. I’m happy.’ He’s more of a student of the game, ‘This is what I need to get better at.’ I’m sure he’s already working on that.”

Christ visited Notre Dame back in the fall of 2017 and his coach says the Irish will absolutely be serious contenders.

“No doubt,” he says. “There’s no doubt. He went there and stood in the rain and watched the Notre Dame game. Let’s be real, OK, it’s Notre Dame. Notre Dame still is Notre Dame. It sells itself. Now that they’re continuing on the path and competing for a national championship. It’s Notre Dame.”

Even with brothers at Virginia and Virginia Tech, Christ is no lock to stay in-state.

“Jimmy is a free thinker so to speak and he’s going to go where Jimmy wants to go,” Buckwalter says. “He’s been following in his three brothers’ footsteps for all of his life. I can never speak for him, but I think he wants to carve his own path so to speak.”

So far, though, those footsteps have served him well.

“He’s such a nice kid,” says Buckwalter. “They all are just phenomenal. It’s an unbelievable family. They’re all together. It’s just fun to watch. I’ve had the privilege of coaching and teaching all of them.”

Buckwalter recently attended the Virginia High School All-State Meeting to vote on postseason accolades.

“Jimmy got the most votes of all of the linemen there,” the coach says. “We’ve got some guys who are pretty daggone good in the state of Virginia.

“He’s like, ‘Thank you, Coach. It means so much to me that you went down there as an advocate for me.’ He doesn’t expect stuff. He’s just very thankful that he’s able to do some things. It’s very refreshing.

“He’s very humble and thankful for everything. They’re all the same. Whenever you have a frustrating day as a coach and then you get a kid like that, you go, ‘Alright, this is great. I’m OK.’”

 
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