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Tra Minter, Playmaker

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Tra Minter is the type of talent who just finds ways to impact games.

South Alabama standout Tra Minter is one of the most versatile players in the country. A multi-functional talent who led the Sun Belt and ranked 8th nationally last season with 150.3 all-purpose yards per game, Minter has a resume that is pliable and productive alike. Whatever the need for the Jaguars, the rising senior has filled that role. Minter, in an era of often position specialization, has shown the rare ability to do it all.

Highlighting Minter's versatility, he earned second-team all-conference honors at two different spots as a junior: return specialist and all-purpose.

A year ago, Minter rushed for 801 yards and six touchdowns, caught 23 passes for 201 yards, returned 29 kickoffs for 710 yards and had six punt returns for 91 yards and a score. Those totals put him in exclusive company. Minter is one of just four players this millennium with a minimum of 800 rushing yards, 200 receiving yards, 700 kickoff return yards and a punt return for a score in a single season, joining former All-Americans Christian McCaffrey and C.J. Spiller and former Sun Belt Player of the Year Antonio Andrews.  

Though 2018 was a rebuilding year for South Alabama in year one under Steve Campbell, Minter, carrying the rock, was laying brick after brick. He rushed for two touchdowns in the Jaguars' triumph over Texas State, ran for another score and took a punt to the house in a win over Alabama State, then had a career day, rushing 24 times for 203 yards and catching two passes for 49 yards, in a victory over Coastal Carolina in the season finale. The end result was an individual season for the record books.

Minter's performance against the Chanticleers was especially-noteworthy. He set a new single-game program rushing record, but, perhaps more importantly, helped send South Alabama's veterans off in style and establish tangible team-wide momentum for the future. It was a statement performance for both Minter and the Jaguars, a springboard forward for all parties. Minter's moment was a big one.       

"All we wanted to do was send these seniors out with a bang and give them something to look back on. For next year, it just gave us a spark and some confidence for next season," he nodded. "Personally, I don't get too caught up in statistics, but it's great to have accomplishments like that. It's amazing to be able to go out and perform at that level. I think I left a lot on the field. I just go out there and ball for my team, and put it all on the line."

Quite the breakout showing, Minter's last game was actually his first-ever 100-yard rushing performance. With 203 yards, he made sure that, this time, the box score left no doubt. Minter's record day came one month to the day after Minter ran for 99 yards against Troy.

Overall, it was an impressive finish to the fall for Minter. He rushed for 538 yards over South Alabama's last five games. Minter helped pace the Jaguars to 69 points over the team's final two outings and a season-high 533 offensive yards and 8.33 yards per play in the last contest of the year. South Alabama found a big spark down the stretch of this past season in their 5'9'' speedster in the backfield.

With improved familiarity, the Jaguars are a side to watch in the Sun Belt this fall. If South Alabama remains a work in progress, Minter has long been punching the clock. He, as a senior leader on a rising team, could now have an even bigger role in the months to come. For all of Minter's numbers, wins may very well be up next.   

Minter is the type of talent who just finds ways to impact games. Playmaker is arguably his best position.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports