• 59°

Fritts among ASWA honorees

In one of his last official acts as a Linden High School football player, Kendarius Fritts took to the podium at the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame Wednesday and briefly thanked his family, coaches and the sportswriters in attendance before taking his seat again.

The placques and awards had not yet been delivered, but each of the 14 athletes in attendace at the Alabama Sports Writers Association Mr. Football Banquete presented by Hibbett Sports was recognized and afforded the opportunity to express his gratitude to those who helped him along the way.

Fritts, sharing a table with family, friends and Linden coaches Andro Williams and Stacy Waters, was in attendance as the ASWA Class 1A Back of the Year.

The occasion marked the second straight season Fritts earned the distinction and the first he was able to have such a large support group on hand to witness his special day.

“That means a lot,” Fritts said of the group in attendance to show him their support. “That shows me that somebody cares for me and somebody pushes me. And I thank them for that.”

Fritts transferred from A.L. Johnson to Linden following his sophomore year.

The success that followed his move was not on his radar at the time.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Fritts said. “I was just trying to fit in.”

His efforts to fit in led him to quickly take the bulk of the carries out of the Linden backfield. Soon thereafter, he exploded onto the Class 1A scene, helping Linden to a 24-3 record over his two seasons as a Patriot. During that time, all three of the Patriot losses came against the eventual Class 1A champions.

“It is special,” he said of his return trip to the banquet, one that allowed him to meet guest speaker, former Auburn University star and current Tampa Bay Bucaneers running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams. “To be honest with you, it was a shocker for me (to win the award) both years.”

The award going to Fritts was not a shock to most who followed the Patriots. In his two seasons at LHS, Fritts rushed for more than 4,200 yards and scored a total of 66 touchdowns.

“He’s a guy that I new had real good potential,” Linden head coach Andro Williams said of Fritts. “But I didn’t expect him to do what he did. But the other guys around him made him what he is.”

Fritts gridiron exploits and overall athletic ability took him to the other side of the ball in 2010, where he recorded more than 60 tackles from his defensive end position.

“We’re just going to miss him,” Williams said. “I don’t think we can replace him as a person.”

Fritts will look to continue his playing career in college. He has yet to make his intentions known as National Signing Day approaches.

“It’s going to come down to education,” Fritts, who wants to major in forestry, said.