Last fall, when Tattnall Square wanted to change things up a bit offensively, one of the first players called upon to do something was Ahmad Barron.
He wasn’t Tattnall’s primary ballcarrier. That was Jonathan Ward, a bruising fullback who racked up 1,031 yards and 12 touchdowns. But on the odd chance Tattnall wanted to throw the ball or open up the field, Barron was in the mix.
With Tattnall operating out of a triple-option set, Barron was the Trojans’ No. 4 rusher, racking up 544 yards and four touchdowns on 76 carries. But he was the only Tattnall player to surpass the 100-yard receiving mark, catching 11 balls for 235 yards and six scores.
“He brings a lot to the table,” said senior Aubrien Kemp, a free safety who also takes the field offensively in passing situations. “He’s one of the key parts of our offense. I’m looking forward to seeing him do some things.”
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Barron, a 5-foot-8, 170-pound junior, will find himself in a bit of a different role this season. Sure, he will still be counted on to break things open with quick open-field moves. But he will be more of a featured back this fall, with Ward now at Mercer and the fullback position going toward more of a rotation of players.
Because one fullback won’t take the rushing load that Ward carried, the offensive distribution will change.
“Back there at the fullback spot, it’s a key position for us,” Tattnall head coach Clint Morgan said. “It has to be somebody who is durable. It has to be somebody who can take the physical punishment that our fullback has to take on every single snap.
“Jonathan was special. Jonathan was someone who could do that by himself. I don’t mean that he was a one-man team, but he was able to take that punishment and be brute strong and play that position many snaps. This year, we’re probably just going to have to rep some people through there and maybe play two or three different people at fullback so that physically they’re not taking the abuse that the fullback takes in our scheme.”
Fullback isn’t the only position where Tattnall will have personnel changes. Just four starters return offensively from a team that went 10-2 and won its subregion.
Barron sees opportunity in the situation.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Barron said. “We’ve got a lot of skill guys -- we don’t have the power back that we had last year -- but we have skill guys who can make a move and get up the field.”
Barron is used to the spotlight. He has three years of varsity experience, starting with his eighth-grade year in the GISA, and his role at Tattnall was recognized early on.
“A lot of people don’t make much out of this, but at the end of each season we have our team vote on our team captains. We go week-to-week throughout the season, but then we have permanent captains at the end,” Morgan said. “In Ahmad’s freshman year, he was voted as a team captain. To have that accomplishment as a freshman shows what kind of person he is. He continued to show that as a sophomore, and he’s just getting better and better.”