By David Knox, Sports Editor
TRUSSVILLE – Noah Igbinoghene, Hewitt-Trussville’s star jumper and sprinter, won’t be the only track athlete on the field Friday night at Tommy Owen Stadium in Nashville.
Montgomery Bell Academy’s Ty Chandler runs for the Big Red track team. Chandler mostly runs relays, and he’s not the AAU champ that Igbinoghene is.
But Chandler, a 5-foot-11, 195-pound running back, is also a four-star prospect like the Huskies receiver. In fact, he’s rated the sixth-best RB in the country by 247Sports.
Monday, he committed to play at Tennessee, picking the Volunteers over Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC and eight other SEC schools, including Auburn and his dad’s alma mater, Ole Miss. Chico Chandler was a Rebels running back from 1998-2002.
Chandler is the reigning Tennessee DII-AA Mr. Football Back of the Year after rushing for 2,585 yards and 34 touchdowns as a junior. The Big Red went 11-2, losing in the state championship game 56-55 in double-overtime against rival Brentwood Academy and just missing a second consecutive state title.
“He’s the best running back I’ve coached against or had,” MBA coach Marty Euverard told the Tennessean newspaper. “He’s the best running back I’ve ever seen.”
Of course, all Huskies fans may remember is he’s the guy who ripped off a 25-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to lift MBA over the Huskies 21-16 in last year’s opener. He rushed for 127 yards in the game.
Connor Adair will make his debut as Huskies quarterback, and he’s made a smooth transition to the HuskyFast style after transferring from Mountain Brook. He played at HTMS as a seventh- and eighth-grader, so he already knows many of his teammates. He has got a big arm and displayed a strong grasp of the offense in the spring and summer. He has some excellent receivers to choose from, including Igbinoghene, who may also get some shots at running the ball. Logan Pitts, Lee Reagan and Christian Stewart are other receivers, and running backs Grayson Cash and Elliott McElwain, who actually was the top receiver in catches last season, are also at Adair’s disposal.
Defensively, it will be up to Christian Smith, Gavin Craig and others up front to clog the blockers so linebackers Nick Jackson and Simon Miskelley along with defensive backs TJ Alexander, David Acfalle and Nathan Helms can wrestle down Chandler, who toted the ball a state-best 347 times. Pretty safe bet that No. 44 will get the ball a lot Friday night.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on the turf of Tommy Owen Stadium on the MBA campus. The school is located at 4001 Harding Pike.