North Forsyth’s Jackson Bardall doesn’t have to say much to get the attention of his teammates. In fact, he doesn’t have to say anything at all.
The 6-foot-4, 280-plus pound lineman looks the part of a major college football program’s offensive tackle, yet despite the attention from recruiters he’s received in recent weeks, he still acts like one of the guys—on a young football team.
“Think of yourself as average,” Bardall said. “You’re just a normal kid. You’re never ever better than anyone else.”
That was the rising senior’s explanation for the hard, quiet work he’s putting in this spring, and while he doesn’t boast much, his head coach still sees him as the staple of the Raiders team.
“He leads by example,” North head coach Jason Galt said. “He’s the first to everything, whether it’s football, practice, or class. Whatever it is, he’s always the first person to do it. You never have to ask anything of him. He’s the one who leads by example. Just a good character kid.”
Despite not having to ask much, Bardall still plans to play both ways in his senior season. Galt said he’s moved him from tackle to center to cut down on exhaustive situations such as pulling to block on a run play. Bardall prefers to be on offense, outside of the spotlight.
“Other positions are about making outstanding plays. O-line means not letting the defense make an outstanding play. That’s about what it is,” Bardall said. “Defensively is where you get stats, look pretty and show off. You can do it on O-line too and bury somebody but nobody notices.”
Bardall says he feels like he needs to be a bigger team leader, but that he thinks his actions will speak louder than his words.
“This year I need to step that up a little bit,” Bardall said of taking on a leadership role as a senior next season. “I’ll do my part.”
Not too surprisingly after meeting with him, being where “nobody notices” is where Bardall feels most comfortable. It’s why he continued to insist that he’s just another kid from the country—the epitome of Raiders football—and that he wants to find a college with a similar environment.
Mid-major colleges have given Bardall recruiting attention; the list includes: Mercer, Western Kentucky, Samford, Kennesaw State, Furman, Jacksonville State, Middle Tennessee State and Eastern Carolina.
He’s also received attention from bigger programs, such as Tennessee and Clemson, which have given him attention in the past.
Bardall can make a name for himself in 2015, but he insisted the record of the North football team was priority No. 1.
“We need to finish higher than last year,” Bardall said. “5-5 at a minimum, but I’m expecting better.”