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Turning the Tide

By Barry Every
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Christian Bass as a junior recorded 14 catches for 228 yards and one score while racking up 28 tackles, two TFL’s, two PBU’s, two blocked punts and a sack. As a sophomore Bass recorded 36 tackles, two FR and one sack.

When thinking of top Georgia football programs, Ludowici (GA) Long County is a school you will never hear uttered. The Blue Tide have never made the playoffs and have won three or less games a season ten times since 2004. Losing football also leads to a continual revolving door of head coaches.

After a (1-6-2) season last year Long County made another change hiring longtime Baxley (GA) Appling County Head Coach JT Pollock. In nine years at the helm of Pirate football Pollock guided his teams to four eight-plus winning seasons, so there is a renewed hope that success is on the horizon for the Blue Tide.

Surprisingly the Long County had two players off the 2016 squad sign with FBS colleges despite the dismal season. Safety Tariq Carpenter inked with Georgia Tech while linebacker Jamin Davis signed with, and just a year earlier two-way lineman Darvis Holmes went to Missouri.

One of the players’ Coach Pollock will be counting on to turn the tide is 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end Christian Bass. Last season as a junior he recorded 14 catches for 228 yards and one score while racking up 28 tackles, two TFL’s, two PBU’s, two blocked punts and a sack. As a sophomore Bass recorded 36 tackles, two FR and one sack.

“We hope for Bass to become as dominating a blocker as he is a pass catcher,” Pollock said. “We are excited about coaching this young man this coming season; he will be playing some tight end and H-Back for us this fall. Christian has great lower body strength and really good hips, there is no reason for him not to be as dominate on the line as he is as a receiving threat.”

College coaches wondering exactly how athletic this young man is only need to research his accomplishments on the basketball court. This past season the power forward averaged 12.8 points per contest while ripping down over ten rebounds a game. As a sophomore he averaged ten points per game and 8.3 boards. Over the last two seasons Long County has experienced much more success on the hardwood, winning 36 games.

This past spring he took part in track and field for the first time competing in the shotput. His best throw of the season was 43-feet.“We just haven’t had the same participation in football as basketball here at Long County,” Bass said. “People don’t want to take part in football if they think they can’t win, which is a shame.”

Not only is Bass a dominant performer on the hardwood he is a stellar student. He currently boasts a 3.8 GPA and a 1,080 on the SAT which should open the eyes of college recruiters from schools that require more than the NCAA minimum. “This is an articulate kid who is an excellent student; he is also a very high character person,” Pollock said. “He has loads of potential, if he can increase his physicality and upper body mass I expect coaches to come calling soon.”

Bass currently holds no offers which makes some sense since Long County is slightly isolated in Southeast Georgia with no tradition of winning football. But at the same time long bodies that can run and catch with impeccable grades don’t grow on trees.

Schools showing the most interest in this young man’s talent to date are Army, The Citadel, Coastal Carolina, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Kennesaw State, Kentucky, Mercer and Princeton. “Coach Lunsford of Georgia Southern is the most active recruiter right now in my opinion,” Bass said. “He keeps me up to date with what is going on at Georgia Southern and always checks in on me, especially on holidays.”

To date Bass has camped at Georgia Southern, Georgia State and Mercer (last year). Each of these schools are looking at the two-sport star as a tight end. Still in the works are camp visits to Coastal Carolina and South Carolina.
“My hands are my best asset,” Bass said. “I have great size but can polish my route running while improving my blocking.”

It’s just a matter of time before this young athlete gains the offers his talents suggest he deserves. But what about the upcoming season for the Blue Tide?

“I’m working on becoming a better leader; I feel like I’m already a good leader but you can always do better,” Bass said. “I somehow have to put the belief in my teammates that we can win, so many players in the school just don’t believe. Maybe I just have to get them to simply believe in themselves.”

For college recruiters that missed the Blue Tide’s spring game versus Claxton (GA) they can catch him next on the gridiron August, 25 versus Savannah (GA) Islands. But the first game they can see his talents in person will be September, 1 at home versus Hazlehurst (GA) Jeff Davis.

Remember this, Long County competes in the same region that recently produced NFL draft pick Raekwon McMillan and heralded 2017 Georgia signee Richard LeCounte.