Dec. 28—OPOY Jordan Triplett is a stallion unleashed
Continuing to amass numbers that many only dream of over a career, Frederica's Jordan Triplett is The News' 2022-23 Coastal Georgia All-Area Football Team's Offensive Player of the Year.
The reigning OPOY entered his junior year in a new offense implemented by head coach Brandon Derrick and offensive coordinator Bo Yeargan, and quickly adapted and thrived yet again.
"I think that it shows his ability to be able to adapt and excel at any system that he does," Derrick said. "He does a really good job, he's a student of the game. On offense, he has great vision running the ball.... He does just about anything on the field offensively and defensively. We played him all over the place on defense too. He does a good job of adapting and understanding, executing it, and excelling at it every Friday night."
Accumulating 2,672 total yards of offense on the season, it was a mixture of a season for the running back and the team altogether.
Playing a hard schedule in the first half of the season, Frederica struggled to win games and stay healthy. Sitting at 1-5, Coach Derrick knew Triplett would have to endure things in the early portion of the season.
"We played a lot of really tough teams too early on. Oddly enough he ran for over 100 yards in every game but one," Derrick said. "That was probably our fault for not giving him the ball more in that game, but we didn't want to run the tread off of him. We limited his touches in the early part of the year and then in the back half, we told him that we were going to lean on him. 'You have to go out there and make it happen.' And in true Jordan fashion, he went out there and made it happen."
Having 747 yards and eight touchdowns through six games, Coach Derrick let his thoroughbred loose.
In the final four games of the regular season, Triplett rushed for 1,417 yards and 17 touchdowns as the Knights won the region championship.
"I know it didn't look like Jordan had numbers but as you watch the game, he still did a really good job of helping us out offensively early on in the season," Derrick said. "In the back half, it was putting the trailer on him, being hitched up to him, and going out and executing. He did a really good job in our wildcat stuff and I thought Coach Yeargan made a system that was very complimentary for him to excel at, especially everyone knowing that he is getting the ball. That tells you that our offensive line, as undersized as they were, that they still did a really good job of creating creases for Jordan to find some room and when he did find it he made people pay for it."
Seeing his junior year finish with 2,305 yards rushing and 26 touchdowns, Triplett finished sixth in the state for rushing and ninth in total touchdowns (31). Being his coach, Derrick said the status of Triplett near the top of the entire state for yards and touchdowns proves to be outstanding for the program and himself.
"We are limited in what we can do and I thought we did an excellent job with our limitations of exceeding expectations in the end, winning a region championship," Derrick said. "We knew Jordan was already there and he was the cornerstone.... I think next year we are just going to get better."
Earning a first-round bye in the playoffs, Frederica lost to Deerfield-Windsor, 18-14, the team feels like the business is unfinished with Triplett about to set the tone for the team for his senior year.
"Going forward I think the kids have a little chip on their shoulders," Derrick said. "They didn't like getting beat in the second round and they felt like we should have been playing for the state title this year. They have a chip on their shoulder going into the new year and Jordan of course will set the tone (with Hamp Thompson doing so on defense) and they are the catalyst for the bunch. They have to learn to be leaders and push everybody to their limits."
Being a star on the field with the numbers he's able to put together, it's the leadership where Coach Derrick wants to see Triplett challenge himself the most.
"I talk about that with our kids, championships aren't won in July and August, championships are won from January through August," Derrick said. "Being in that weight room and creating that camaraderie. Everybody understanding the system and what we have to do. That's where it is won and Jordan has to lead that group. Our seniors have to want it more than anybody else. We are going to have some talented kids coming through the next few years and right now you have Jordan and Hamp.
"We have some talent on the field next year and we have a shot to do some things that we haven't done in the past. We are the region champs and we have to go and defend our title and hopefully, we can. I know everybody else is gunning for us. We have to be ready to go to work and those two guys have to lead us through that."
With Triplett returning for his senior year, Coach Derrick already told him he will play some quarterback and needs to practice throwing a football. As for what he wants to see his selfless star accomplish, it's plain and simple.
"For him just continuing what we have been doing, and I think Jordan can roll up somewhere around 3,000 yards next year total," Derrick said. "He will have set (I'm pretty sure) any record in Glynn County with 10,000 total yards in four years. That's pretty unheard of to have a kid do that. He is at 5,700 yards rushing and if he can get 1,800 and get up to 7,500 rushing that would be pretty awesome."
When it's all said and done, Triplett will have his name set in stone at the top of the state's history for rushing yards. Coach Derrick hopes that the humble superstar can get a chance to play at the next level.
"I've tried to tell college coaches the same thing, and it's kind of crazy that they are making offers to everybody and I look over and I think he may be the best player in the county," Derrick professes. "When you look at his grades, he has a 4.2 GPA, a 28 on the ACT, and is already up to 7,000 total yards. He is one of those guys and I'm hoping these college coaches come to their senses and start offering him some big-time offers. He can play at that level and he would excel."