Miller County’s T.T. Barber started the season at quarterback but has since played almost everywhere on the field for the Pirates. He’s been most dominant, however, at the linebacker position, where he’s already recorded more than a 100 tackles so far this year. He hopes that versatility will help him land a Division I scholarship. (Herald file photo)
COLQUITT -- It doesn't take Miller County coach Frank Killingsworth long to come up with memorable statements, so it's no surprise that he didn't blink when he was asked about his linebacker T.T. Barber, a Herald Dynamite Dozen selection who does it all.
"He's the Mercedes Benz of linebackers,'' Killingsworth said. "He's high-tech, sleek -- the power and luxury linebacker of South Georgia.''
Getting to know Chris Brown: The Dynamite 'Half-Dozen' Q and A
New this year, a half-dozen questions for our Dynamite Dozen players about their likes off the football field:
Q: What's your favorite food?
A: "Chicken, fried chicken. I love the taste.''
Q: Favorite movie?
A: "Friday, the first one.''
Q: Who is your favorite entertainer (movie star, comedian, singer etc)?
A: "Young Jeezy."
Q: Who is your favorite NFL player?
A: "Ray Lewis. He's been my favorite player my whole life. He inspires me."
Q: If you were stranded on an island, who would you want to be with you?
A: "Rachael Ray, because she can cook and she looks good."
Q: Who is the person you owe everything to?
A: "My mother. She has been there through it all."
That tells you a lot about Trevonti Terrell Barber, but not everything.
"The thing about T.T. is he is such a good kid, really a good kid,'' Miller defensive coordinator Jason Houston said. "He's one of those kids you want to be around. He's got great character. He's the type of kid who keeps you coming out here. When I started coaching it was because I loved football, but later you realize you come back because of the kids -- kids like T.T.''
And on the field?
Barber is a ferocious hitter who rips into opponents with such force and reckless abandon that they can't keep a helmet on him-- literally.
"He has torn up four different helmets,'' Killingsworth said. "He had a concussion early in the year, so I got him a $300 helmet. He busted the face mask off of that helmet three times, it just popped it off. And the last time he warped the face mask, warped it with a hard lick. I took it back to the guy I bought it from, and he said the engineers of the helmet wanted to keep it and take a look at it to find out what had happened.''
Barber is what happened.
"He just attacks people,'' Killingsworth said. "His acceleration goes up right before contact. Right before he gets to the ball, he explodes to the ball.''
Houston said Barber just never slows down.
"He goes wide open all the time,'' Houston said. "He only knows wide open.''
Barber, a senior, has been Miller County's leading tackler for the past two years, and was second on the team in tackles as a sophomore. He has more than 100 tackles this season and has made a number of memorable plays.
"He's a beast,'' said safety and receiver Adrian Hayes, a senior who grew up with Barber. "After he makes a play, I just shake my head. He makes so many big plays. You have to look after every play to see if his helmet is still on him.''
Barber is a different guy the minute the helmet comes off. He may be a terror on the field, but he's pretty quiet off of it, easy-going and down to earth.
"Yeah, I'm mean on the field, but not off of it,'' Barber said. "Off the field, I'm just cool, calm and collected, just me. I love playing linebacker. When I was in the rec league I played everywhere, played linebacker, running back, fullback. I even played offensive guard and tackle on the line.
"I started playing rec when I was 7 or 8, and when we got out of flag football and starting putting on pads, I loved playing linebacker right away. I've always loved playing linebacker. I just love it. I like punishing people. I like taking away their happiness.''
Barber may be carving out his own road to happiness.
A number of colleges have shown interest, including Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Florida State and Miami. No one has made an offer, but Barber is hoping to play in a big-time program.
He has a 3.5 GPA and will easily qualify. His cousin, Brandon Miller, was one of the top recruited linebackers out of high school and went to Georgia, which may have the edge in recruiting Barber.
"I grew up a Georgia fan, and I always like Clemson,'' Barber said. "Georgia would have the advantage. I don't know what will happen (with how much I will be recruited), but I want to find out for myself.''
Barber, who runs a 4.58 40-yard dash, is 6-foot-1, and weighs 205, but he said he plans on bulking up to get ready to play at the next level.
"He can play anywhere in the U.S.A.,'' Killingsworth said. "We're just waiting for them to come get him. I hope (the recruiting) gets really crazy for his sake because he deserves it. If you're looking for a young man with character and integrity, it's him.
"I believe he can play at the SEC level. He's going to get a little taller, and I can see him playing at 225 to 230 in college. He might not be 6-3 and 280. That might look pretty. But pretty doesn't win football games.''
You won't out-work Barber. He throws himself into everything he does -- and always has.
"Growing up, we used to pick on him,'' Hayes said. "He would always be working, doing chores at home. We would go to his house, but he wouldn't come out with us. He was real disciplined. He was like that then, and he's like that now. He has heart and improves every day. He works hard.''
Barber gets that work ethic from his parents and grandparents.
"His mother and father raised him right,'' Killingsworth said.
Barber said growing up in church and having people pushing him made his choices easy, and gave him his drive.
"I had people behind me, helping me, you know, to make good grades and helping me (in life),'' Barber said. "My mother and father and my grandparents pushed me to get good grades. My grandmother (Dosha Fennell) sat me down and told me, 'Reach for the highest star.' She always says that.''
Barber doesn't take anything for granted.
"You've got to make it count,'' he said. "You never know when you're not going to be able to.''
Barber plays just about everywhere for Miller. He has played quarterback, tight end, running back and has recently moved into a flanker position.
"We move him around on offense. We don't move him from linebacker,'' Killingsworth said with a smile. "He makes so many plays it's hard to pick one out
"He's so unselfish,'' he said. "He's one of those special kids who understands the concept of team. He's selfless. We could play him anywhere, and he would do it.''
Barber doesn't exactly look like a receiver, but when Miller County went into overtime against Calhoun County, he became one.
He made a big defensive play, throwing Calhoun for a 5-yard loss on a sweep to start the OT, and when Miller intercepted a pass with a chance to end the game on offense, Barber went to Killingsworth.
"He said, 'Give me the ball,' " Killingsworth said.
He did. Barber lined up as a receiver and ran a fade route to the right corner of the end zone. The pass went up ...
"He yanked it right out of the sky,'' Killingsworth said. "And that was that.''
You won't see many linebackers run a fade route.
"Not middle linebackers,'' Killingsworth said.