Bryan County football players won’t put the pads on until July 31 and then only after five days of conditioning drills.
Those drills, while a GHSA requirement, will be a mere formality for a group which has been working out for most of the summer. The Redskins, Coach Cherard Freeman said, will be in shape and ready to go once they get the official green light.
“We’re having a great summer,” Freeman said. “We’ve been averaging 41 to 45 kids a day. The guys have been coming in and working out.”
Currently workouts are done on a voluntary basis with numbers fluctuating due to players having summer jobs and family activities such as vacations. In addition, some multi-sport athletes have been juggling workouts around playing baseball or basketball.
For the most part though, Freeman said, attendance has been consistent and players have been focused on the task at hand.
“We’ve done a bunch of different things just working and trying to get better,” said Freeman who is starting his fourth season.
As a Class A school most Redskins football players play two sports and several play three but that has hardly slowed them down.
“We’ve got guys who played basketball, wrestled, ran track, played baseball,” Freeman said, “but they were in the weight room every day.
“People aren’t going to recognize them when they go on the field. We’re bigger and stronger. They look like they belong on a football field.” Bryan County is coming off its first state playoff appearance since 2015 and its 6-5 record marked its first winning season since 2013.
Losses to graduation were minimal the most notable being running back Konnor Leggett, offensive linemen Tarrell Singleton and Kameron Boggs and defensive lineman Carter Tapley.
Returnees include a slew of seasoned seniors and juniors, most of whom started as freshmen, led by running back/ linebacker Austin Clemons and safety Tanner Ennis who is one of the most talented all-around athletes in Coastal Georgia having been all-region in football, basketball and baseball last year.
Both Clemons and Ennis are drawing the attention of FBS and FCS recruiters and Clemons was offered by Stetson this spring.
However, players such as defensive back Sean Kelly Hill, running backs Jacari Carney and Erin Green and linemen Jet Lewis, John Good and Luke Holcombe bring talent and a presence to the table, too.
The return of Clemons is huge. He suffered a season ending knee injury in the fourth game of the season against Portal and his absence left a huge void. At the time he was leading the team in rushing and in tackles.
“We would have, I think, won two or three more games with Smush,” Freeman said. “Getting him back is huge. He and Tanner are great players and leaders but we’ve got our entire offensive line coming back.
“We lost Tarrell and Kameron who were two great players for us but we’ve got some young guys we’re trying to get ready to see if they’re going to come in and do the job. They’ve done a great job this summer. We’re kind of excited about where we’re at right now.”
The Redskins open the season on Aug. 18 at Lincoln County which is Freeman’s alma mater. Four of their first five games are on the road with the lone home game in that stretch being on Sept. 1 against Wheeler County.