A season after starting at safety and running back, 2012 saw Major not only rarely in the backfield, but also starting at linebacker.
“It’s one of those situations that the last two years he’s been on all sides of the ball, and by the eighth or ninth season he’s banged up,” Bulldogs coach Steve Smith said. “So we had the luxury of having enough depth — except to score in a couple of our games — we didn’t really need him at running back.”
Depth was also the reason the senior moved to the secondary in 2011 from linebacker, where he started as a freshman and sophomore. However, even after leading the game in tackles in 2009 and being named first team All-State as a sophomore, the transition to the secondary wasn’t a big one for Major, considering he was also named first team All-State at his new position as a junior — and again this season.
And in addtion to the county player of the year award, which was voted on by the coaches, Major also was a finalist for ASWA’s Class 3A Lineman of the Year.
“Looking at the whole body of work, he’s probably the best football player that I’ve had the opportunity to coach in 18 years,” Smith said. “From size, speed, strength and, most importantly, the production standpoint, he’s done everything that’s asked of him. He’s the ultimate team player.”
Despite seeing large amounts of playing time all over the field the last four years, Major would rather play linebacker than running back or safety “any day.”
Joking that he was stingy when it came to making tackles as a freshman, Major’s limited-time offensive role played a large role in some of Piedmont’s biggest games in 2012.
“I didn’t really run the ball that much, but coach Smith said when he needed me, he’d let me know,” Major said. “I love running the ball, but if I need to block, I’ll block. Scoring touchdowns is fine, but doing what the team needs most is better to me.”
However, it was Major’s touchdown against No. 2 Leeds in Week 5 that decided the outcome in the 7-0 win.
Following a Bulldogs timeout, Major blocked momentarily before fading to the right, catching Cade Bradley’s pass for what would become the game-winning score and keep Piedmont ranked No. 1 and unbeaten.
“Every week at practice, I get the same amount of reps as everyone else and am in the huddle and know the offensive game plan,” Major said. “Coach Smith said he may have to have me so I was ready.”
In his last game as a Bulldog, Major recorded a season-high 19 tackles and scored Piedmont’s only touchdown against Deshler.
“I never let my wheels down, I guess you could say that,” Major said. “I just kept going and kept going. I’m not trying to say I was the only one, but I was on the field and playing as hard as I could in what was a dogfight.
“It was just I wasn’t about to give up at all.”
Major described his senior season as “great.”
“There’s one bad memory in the whole year and that’s the last game,” he said. “Other than that, everything is great. I couldn’t ask for better teammates or coaches.”
Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.