Calera’s Pritchett making waves early

By DREW GRANTHUM / Sports Writer

In football, rarely do offensive linemen get the credit they deserve. In fact, sometimes only negative recognition comes to linemen, via a missed block or a penalty. A position on the offensive line is often a case of anonymity, yet is one of the most important positions on the field.

Calera’s Tyler Pritchett hopes to change that, as the rising sophomore offensive tackle looks to make a name for himself in the fall.

Pritchett, who has been starting since he was in eighth grade, was recently invited to the Rivals.com 250 Underclassmen Challenge. The Challenge is a competition bringing in the best high school football talent in the country. While he declined to attend, the nomination alone is an honor.

Jamie Scruggs, the offensive coordinator and Pritchett’s line coach at Calera, said Pritchett was one of only two linemen from Alabama selected.

“He has a tremendous wing span and good feet,” he said. “Those two together are great. That’s what you look for in a prototype. He’s what those guys who play on Sunday and Saturday look like at his age.”

In the offensive system in place under head coach Wiley McKeller, the linemen play a significant role. When a lineman shows the promise that Pritchett has, both coaches and college scout notice. Scruggs said several scouts have told him they’ll be back to check on Pritchett in a few years.

“He’s progressed so much since last year,” he said. “He’s improved tremendously. He’s continued to work on it. He’s got the drive.”

His progress was noted when he received the invitation to the Rivals event.

“I was very excited,” Pritchett said. “Not many people get the opportunity to (go to the competition). I let my coaches know as soon as I got it.”

Scruggs said he felt Pritchett’s natural ability, as well as his attitude on and off the field, would help him go far.

“He’s a smart kid,” Scruggs said. “He’s in the National Honor Society; that directly (tells) how coachable he is. He listens well. His parents don’t accept mediocrity, and he thrives off that.”

Pritchett said he doesn’t intend to rest on his laurels anytime soon.

“I feel like I’m not where I need to be yet,” he said. “I still need to keep working hard. I’m going to keep doing that.”