The term “team player” can at times be taken out of context or overused when describing an athlete or member of a group.
If you’re looking for the true meaning of team player look no further than Benjamin Franklin High School junior Jordan Kemp who received an unexpected weekend text message from his head coach a little over a month ago.
“We had some needs up front on the offensive line,” Brian Jefferies said to Sports360AZ.com. “We didn’t have a lot of kids up there that wanted to do it. We were just getting real thin…and Jordan Kemp came to mind.”
Kemp spent his sophomore season on varsity playing tight end, as well as leading the Chargers in tackles with 63 from his linebacker position.
loving the game and all my brothers on the field with me pic.twitter.com/mpTTJZPyyW
— Jordan Kemp (@jordankemp44) September 20, 2016
Shortly after the text Jeffries traded his #81 jersey for #61, accepting the challenge of moving inside to play right tackle.
“I kind of take it as a compliment,” the well-liked Kemp explained to Sports360AZ.com. “It was cool. It’s a pretty cool experience. It’s a lot harder than I thought it would be.”
Maybe the most difficult transition was matching up his 6-foot-1, 186-pound frame against defense ends two to three inches taller and 15-20 pounds heavier.
Fortunately for Kemp he had seen this before at BFHS. When he was a freshman a couple “bigger” tight ends were re-located up-front to fill more pressing needs on the line.
“That sort of set a precedent there two years ago,” Jefferies said. “So when it came up this year that we sort of had that same issue I think Jordan knew that it had to be done for the betterment of the team.”
boolin, 7’s was a great time with my boys pic.twitter.com/eTAIrnOlJO
— Jordan Kemp (@jordankemp44) June 25, 2016
On paper the move has worked well. BFHS has won six-straight and averaging close to 50 points a game since shifting Kemp up front.
He has used his footwork and speed from his tight end days as a base to improve other aspects of his game at tackle, while continuing to thrive on defense. His five tackles-for-loss is good for second on the 6-1 Chargers who host Safford Thursday night.
“I think I was surprised at how I stood up against the bigger guys,” Kemp explained. “I think I’ve done pretty well moving some big d-linemen down there.”
They say, good things come to good people.
Jordan Kemp is a perfect example.