In Focus: Championship Mentality
Senior Josh Downs Has an Unyielding Desire to Win
Throughout a football career filled with success, Josh Downs has been a workhorse that simply doesn't know the definition of quitting. Though he is an incredibly gifted athlete with an impressive track record, his road to the upper echelon of college football wasn't paved in gold.
"What really affected me through high school was my mother's condition," Downs explained. "Halfway through high school my mother had a car accident that paralyzed her from the waist down. To be honest, that motivated me more than anything else. I was forced to grow up early but I feel that it helped me become the person I am today. Now I'm here trying to find a way out for my family and myself."
Downs was forced into the fray at a young age due to his mother's injury. He started taking on adult responsibilities such as paying the bills, keeping up the house and aiding his mom. Through his experiences, Downs acquired a strong ability to lead.
"I lead by example," Downs said. "I want my teammates to feel that if I give 100 percent then I want the guy behind me to give 100 percent. Tough days always come but if you have someone there to support you when you're down it makes the comeback that much better."
It's not only these unyielding characteristics that define him. It is also the foundation that his parents implanted in him to be resilient through adversity, to give praise to God and to be the absolute best that he can be regardless of the obstacles in his way.
Those years of self-responsibility and dedication have led Downs to become a well-established defensive tackle for the LSU Tigers. He has played in 36 games during his career, recording 32 tackles for the Tigers. Downs also holds the distinction of being the only senior in the starting defense this season. Although Downs has made his own way to becoming a starter, he knows it was his teammates' belief in him that got him there.
"I always get my confidence from the guys that play beside me," he said. "They help me through the pain and fatigue. It's a brotherhood here," Downs said. "I feel everyone on the line feeds off of each other. It's all about guys being focused on a prize and working together to get it."
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A product of Bastrop High School, Downs offers an array of talent and has a positive aura that radiates from him. He has become a driving force behind the LSU defense in the offseason and into the regular season. His strong will to succeed and relentless work ethic shapes him into the ideal role model.
He pushes his teammates to the brink in hopes that they reach nothing less than perfection. He always demonstrates consistency in his demeanor and his pursuit for a degree in sports administration. With young, talented tackles like Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson playing behind him, he has become even more entrenched in his leadership role.
"Honestly, that competition from Ego and Anthony will definitely help me out this season," Downs said. "They are talented football players and competitive in nature, which lets me learn from them just as much as they can learn from me."
Just like every year, the LSU defense is filled with big names and playmakers that bring ferocity on every snap of the ball. The most profound trait, however, is their ability to play together with complete confidence in one another. Alongside standouts Bennie Logan, Barkevious Mingo and Sam Montgomery, Downs feels this team has everything it takes to win the BCS National Championship.
"Of course, I feel we prepared hard in the spring and summer and we had more of a team aspect about us when we were working out or doing positional drills," Downs said. "This team carries a championship mentality in everything we do. This team is great!"