The talented Auburn University offensive guard from Powder Springs, Ga., is leaving the AU football program with his head held high and the respect of the coaching staff and his teammates.
At the recommendation of team doctors, trainers and coaches, Britt is putting away the pads for good and will be a regular student at Auburn until he finishes his degree in criminology.
After having a major surgery to repair what was a worsening shoulder problem followed by long rehab, he was upbeat and ready to challenge for a starting job in spring practice earlier this year. However, on the first day in pads the redshirt sophomore from McEachern High School reinjured the surgically repaired shoulder and couldn’t practice the rest of the spring.
After evaluating the situation, discussing it with his father Don Britt and the coaches and staff, everyone concluded that it didn’t make sense for the lineman to keep playing football.
“It’s really tough to walk away from football and it is not something that I wanted to do, but I at least have the satisfaction of knowing that I gave it my best shot,” he says. “Despite the injury, football at Auburn was a great experience for me. I got to know so many great people in the program like the trainers, Arnold Gamber and James Williams who did so much for me.
“Coach Yox (strength and conditioning coach Kevin Yoxall) is just a great person. He called me the other day and we talked for 30 minutes. I can’t say enough good things about Coach Nall (Hugh Nall, offensive line coach). He has been absolutely great. Coach (head coach Tommy) Tuberville, of course, has been great, too. I couldn’t ask for more supportive people to be around.”
Jarrod Britt played offensive guard in seven games as a true freshman in 2003, but redshirted last year while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Britt, who is working this summer at Bill Heard Chevrolet in Columbus, Ga., will be back at Auburn for fall semester classes that start in August. The football program will pay for his scholarship and he plans to join the family’s insurance business after graduation.
“I have already decided what I want to do after college,” Britt says. “I am looking forward to working with my father.”
Britt says that while the shoulder injury will limit him to some degree, he doesn’t plan to let it slow him too much. “I like to get out and do a lot of different things and that won’t change,” he says.
Tuberville says he has a lot of respect for Britt. “Jarrod Britt worked very hard with his rehab and this is a guy who really wanted to play football for us,” the head coach says. “We wish he could be part of the team, but it doesn’t make sense for him to keep playing football with his shoulder problem.”
Britt developed a reputation as a hard-nosed football player and he attacked his rehab following surgery with the same energy he brought to the football. While the Tigers were winning the SEC title last year, he and cornerback David Irons did rehab workouts with a religious fervor in an effort to get ready for the 2005 season. Irons, a cornerback who had ACL surgery last August, is expected to challenge for a starting job this season and Britt is thrilled about that.
“I am so happy that David has made this much progress,” Britt says. “It is incredible the amount of effort he has put into his rehab. I saw how hard he worked. He’s my home boy and I know he is going to have a great season.”
Britt also predicts that despite the loss of three NFL first round draft picks in Jason Campbell, Ronnie Brown and Carnell Williams, the offense will be fun to watch in 2005.
“I think Brandon Cox is going to be really good at quarterback,” Britt says. “He was a great recruit coming out of high school and I believe Coach Borges (offensive coordinator Al Borges) will have him ready to go.
“I know a lot of people are worried about how we will replace the two great running backs we lost, but let me tell you, Tre (tailback Tre Smith) and Kenny (tailback Kenny Irons) have a chance to be special. Also, watch out for Carl (tailback Carl Stewart) because he is coming on strong, too.”
Up front, the offense will be fine, Britt contends. “Marcus (offensive tackle Marcus McNeill), Troy (offensive tackle Troy Reddick) and Ben (offensive guard Ben Grubbs) are back as starters and they are really good. Marcus and Troy are huge--the two of them are as big as four guys. Coach Nall is a special coach. He’ll have them ready to play. Don’t worry about the offensive line.”
The same can said about Jarrod Britt. Although he will really miss football, he will be just fine, too.