That’s when linebacker Jamie Major shines the brightest. That’s when he mercilessly lays the wood to opposing ball carriers like almost none other on defense. That’s when he renders defenders defenseless with a bruising shoulder to the chest on offense and clears everything in his path as he barrels down the field in special teams coverage.
It’s why the 6-foot-1, 222-pounder was named to two different All-American teams after his freshman and sophomore seasons and was named Alabama Sports Writers Association Class 3A All-State second year in row, following his junior campaign a year ago.
The Piedmont pigskin prodigy has started since the since the ninth grade when the Bulldogs won a state championship. Heading into his senior season, he holds nearly a dozen scholarship offers from schools across the country, including the Big 10’s Indiana.
“If you watch Jamie play with pads on, you can tell he’s a very physical football player, hard-nosed football player and I think that’s his best asset,” Piedmont coach Steve Smith said.
Major also holds offers from Idaho State, Jacksonville State, Wofford Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Samford and Alcorn State.
Much of recruiting is based on how well a player performs in football-related drills. It’s the type of stuff college football coaches put players through during the spring and summer during unofficial visits and camps where scouts can pit the most elite players against each other. The tests are performed in all but empty facilities in shorts and t-shirts. The closest they come to the real thing in these settings is 7-on-7 pass-only games, a high stakes version of two-hand touch.
Major, who runs a 4.68 in the 40-yard dash, bench presses 360 while squatting 460 and cleaning 360, has camped at Alabama, Mississippi St. and Vanderbilt but has yet to earn an offer from an SEC school.
“My strong point is getting to the football and using my physicality, Major said. “(At camps) they kind of take that away from you. With running the 40s and the vertical jumps, I just try to do my best and do what the coaches want to see but I feel like if they could see me play, they’d like me a lot more.”
Major’s humility was on display like it was in mid-July at JSU. The Bulldogs were on campus to participate in a 7-on-7 camp, and for all intents and purposes, Major didn’t have to be there. But he was. Nursing a typical nagging preseason injury, he sat out much of the contest. However, he endured the unrelenting heat on the sidelines and cheered on his younger teammates with enthusiasm as they marched to the final against Georgia powerhouse Carrollton (Ga.).
Last season, he registered 98 tackles on defense while playing rover, a hybrid linebacker/defensive back position in the Bulldogs’ 3-4 scheme a spot he assumed after former all-state selection and Calhoun County Player of the Year Jamaal Johnson, who signed with Jacksonville State. A talented between-the-tackles-runner, he gained 760 yards on the ground.
Even with all he has going for himself, Smith said Major is “one of the most humble kids” he’s ever coached. His use of the words “I” and “me” are few and far between. Instead, he prefers the terms “we” and “us” and he’d rather speak of team goals as opposed to his own.
“Even when these coaches are talking about the upcoming next four or five years of his life,” Smith explained. “Where’s he going to go? What he’s going to do? He’ll tell them up front his primary focus is his senior season and helping his team win a state championship.”