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Bryan County High School's blue collar man
sports teaser
Bryan County High School lineman J.J. Rowe. - photo by File

Offensive linemen usually toil in obscurity, but that’s about to change for Bryan County High School’s J.J. Rowe.

Rowe, a senior, will be awarded the NAPA Auto Parts/Larry Csonka Blue Collar Player of the Year award on March 19 in Macon.

It’s well-deserved, Redskins’ coach Mark Wilson said.

"J.J. is a hard worker. He’s always done a great job for us," Wilson said. "He was a great leader for us. He deserves the award, and the recognition."

Rowe, 18, is one of 10 prep football payers from Georgia to receive the award, which was created to honor hard-working, blue collar players who, according to NFL Hall of Famer Larry Csonka, "show up for work every day and never complain, unsung heroes who spend little time in the spotlight but play pivotal roles in their team’s success."

Rowe called the award "a true honor."

"As an offensive lineman, you carry a lot of the workload but don’t get a lot of credit. I respect that, because that’s what I signed up for as an offensive lineman," he said. "You get part to none of the credit when things go right and most, if not all, of the blame when they go wrong. But I enjoyed playing the offensive line. I wouldn’t change it for the world."

To be fair, Rowe, who is listed on rosters at 5-foot-9 and 260 pounds, hasn’t gone entirely unnoticed.

He was an All Region 3-A pick and a Savannah All-Area offensive lineman his junior year, but first a knee injury and then a wrist injury slowed him down his senior season. Still, Rowe played banged up and was voted to the All Region 2-AA All-Academic team and the Bryan County News’ first All-County team. He also fared well at various camps and was named the top offensive lineman at the National Underclassman Combine in LaGrange. He also was invited to play in the NUC’s Southeast All Star game in Myrtle Beach, S.C. in November.

Rowe had to skip the All-Star game because of the wrist injury. But that hasn’t dampened his desire to play at the next level, and Rowe definitely has the academic background to be successful in college. He was named to the principal’s honor roll all four years at Bryan County High School, carries a 3.9 GPA and is a member of Beta Club, the Honor Society, the FFA, the FCCLA, the TSA Club, SADD and the Science Club.

See full story in March 16 issue of the Bryan County News.

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