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Outworking Everybody

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By Barry Every
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With two year’s left at Savannah Country Day, quarterback Barry Kleinpeter Jr has plenty of chances to impress college recruiters.

Coming into the 2019 football season Savannah (Ga.) Country Day School had not won a Region Title since 1980. Even worse they hadn’t beaten bitter league foes Savannah (Ga.) Calvary Day and Savannah (Ga.) Savannah Christian in the same season since 1995. That would all change under first year Head Coach Jim Collis.

Not only did Coach Collis and his swarm of Hornets knock off their parochial counterparts, they finished the season (10-1/5-0) while capturing the Region 3-A Crown. Possibly the most impactful player on the offensive side of the ball this past season was sophomore signal caller Barry Kleinpeter, Jr.

“Barry is a great kid, what I love about him is he is all in all the time and committed to everything,” Collis said. “He works his butt off even outside of football practice; from a coach’s perspective you can’t ask for anymore.”

Kleinpeter’ s impact this past season should have come as no surprise; as a freshman he threw for 1,364 yards and 14 touchdowns in leading the Hornets to a (7-4) mark.  This past season the 6-foot-1, 180-pound gunslinger completed 134 of 219 pass attempts for 2,203 yards with 24 touchdown tosses and only six INT’s. Possibly the biggest difference from his freshman campaign and his sophomore season were the 466 yards rushing and eight scores. As a freshman he rushed for negative yardage.

His stellar season did not go unnoticed as the sophomore earned First Team All-Region. Kleinpeter was also named to the ESPN Coastal All-Area Team and the Savannah Morning News All-Greater Savannah Team.

“He did a great job learning all the RPO stuff and he rips it pretty good,” Collis said. “His feet are really good so he became an excellent run-pass threat for us. By the time all is said and done here at Savannah Country Day he is going to end up to be a very good prospect. This is a kid that outworks everybody all the time.”

Kleinpeter maintains a 3.0 GPA at one of the Peach State’s elite college preparatory schools. His plans are for taking the ACT and SAT during the fall of his junior season. He is currently taking Algebra II, Chemistry, English Poetry, Spanish I and World History. College recruiters at all levels should not have any concerns about his academic standing.

He has yet to take an unofficial visit to a college campus. One reason for that is the fact that he is a three-sport athlete that was the sixth man on the basketball team as well as being the starting third baseman on the baseball squad.

Kleinpeter did attend camps at Florida, Mercer and South Florida last year. This year he hopes to be able to attend camps at Tulane, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. He says Wake Forest is currently showing the most interest, but is interested in any college that is interested in his ability as a quarterback at the next level.

“For us Barry had to learn a new system and a new culture with the coaching change,” Collis said. “He did a great job of managing the offense and he just possesses the It-Factor. This is a focused kid that is very talented and has great athletic ability. He throws the ball very well and has great legs.”

So what were the biggest adjustments that Kleinpeter made from his freshman to sophomore season that led to an offensive explosion for the Hornets?

“The new coaching staff trusted me to make big plays with my feet and that’s why I ran for more yards this past season,” Kleinpeter said. “Also studying film and understanding progressions and how the opposing defenses schemed against us helped. Being a leader in crunch situations is when I’m at my best. Late in the fourth quarter in a tight game is when things get tough and my teammates look at me for what to do next.”

Earning another Region Championship just became a little tougher as the GHSA recently went through reclassification. Gone are the public/private 1-A Regions, Savannah Country Day now plays in a four team region with their two long time Savannah foes and new addition Augusta (Ga.) Aquinas. The Fighting Irish captured four Region Titles from 2013 to 2017 including a GHSA State Championship in 2013.

“I’ve already started building a relationship with our receivers in group chat,” Kleinpeter said. “Recently we traveled all over Savannah looking for a field to practice on because of the coronavirus; we finally found one at Daffin Park. I’m also going to work on shortening my release and getting the ball to the receivers as quick as possible.”

At this time Kleinpeter is still awaiting his first scholarship offer but admits Wake Forest has shown a keen interest in his skills.  Unfortunately the loss of the spring evaluation period to the current pandemic has really deterred many recruits visibility to college recruiters.

“He can play at the next level, it will depend on how much more he grows,” Collis said. “He has the passion and desire to play at the next level and that’s huge for reaching goals. He has a lot of upside and is only going to get better and better.”

Based on one live evaluation this past season, Kleinpeter did not disappoint. He finished the contest 14 of 20 for 263 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for a pair of scores in the Hornets 49-14 win over Calvary Day. Oh yeah, he also started at safety recording seven tackles, one TFL and one INT. I have to concur with Coach Collis that this young man is only going to get better. With two years left Kleinpeter has plenty of chances to impress college recruiters.

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