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Clarksville, TN – With a 10-4 record, the Tennessee State University (TSU) Tigers football team won their first postseason game since 1986 last season due in large part to their nationally sixth ranked defense. On that impressive defense terrorizing quarterbacks and earning OVC Defensive Player of the Year honors was former Clarksville Northeast High Eagle, Anthony Bass.
Listed at 6’2”, 230 lbs, Bass pounced on offensive players in the back field as the Tigers defensive end for 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for a loss last season. His impressive junior campaign netted him All OVC First Team honors and also made him one of only six OVC players on the College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) watch list.Bass will be leading the Tigers defensive line as a senior in the 2014-15 season. He has played for the team all three previous years at TSU. However, before he was a Tiger, Bass was an Eagle, playing four years of football at Northeast High School.
Bass grew up in Clarksville and said he has been playing football since he was 8-years old. Despite his young start, Bass said he didn’t have any aspirations to play college football until his sophomore year as an Eagle.
“It really wasn’t a dream of mine to play in college until my sophomore year,” Bass said. “We got new coaches in. They were sending people to college. They told me I would have an opportunity to go to college.”
The coach Bass credits with getting him the opportunity to go to college is former Northeast Eagle football head coach Isaac Shelby.
“Coach Shelby, He got me the looks, told me to do what I do and he will get me into college.”
“My grades weren’t the best coming out of high school. I had schools looking at me, but I didn’t have many schools because of my grades,“ Bass said. “TSU made an offer to me my junior year. The coaches, they stuck on me. I felt like they were genuine. I felt like if I was going to go anywhere, I needed to go there because they were really concerned with my well being.”
Bass played linebacker, defensive end and offensive guard as an Eagle. He recorded 39 tackles as a senior.
He played in nine games as a freshman at TSU. As a sophomore he played in all 11 of the Tigers games and recorded 24 tackles, including 3.5 for a loss.
Bass understands he is in the spotlight this season and is adjusting to his leadership role on the team as a senior.
“At first it felt a little weird, but it is becoming more natural,” Bass said. “As far as guys looking up to certain guys, if you are out there making plays, guys will want to look up to you. I just try to take pride in that and keep doing what I am doing, setting an example for the younger guys looking up to me.”
Bass credits his overall improvement as a player and exceptional play last season to coaching and becoming a student of the game.
“I think it was coaching, the coaches staying on us, the coaches staying on me, telling me I can be a dominant pass rusher,“ Bass said. “Conditioning too. Our weight coaches, they put a lot of emphasis on making our bodies being able to go the limit, longer than our opponents.”
“Also, studying the game. I studied the game a lot last year, trying to learn about my opponent, his weaknesses and what his tendencies are, what he is bad at. I just break it down in the film room and try to use that to my advantage.”
Off the field, Bass is studying criminal justice. He hasn’t decided what career in the field he wants to pursue, but says he is interested in the U.S. Marshall service.
Improvement means winning the OVC again and capturing a national championship.
“I usually tell myself to go out there and try to dominate, the stats will come,” Bass said. “Looking toward this year, I feel like we gained a lot of experience from last year as far as having somewhat a taste of success.”
“A lot of people say a 10-4 season would be a great season. Even at a BCS level you would go to a bowl game. But we really aren’t content with what happened. We still won the OVC Championship. We want a national championship. That is where our sights are set for this year.”
Marlon Scott is a freelance journalist and writer. He graduated from Austin Peay State University in 2011 with a B.S. in Communications, majoring in Communication Arts with a concentration in print and web journalism.
His writing career began as a sports writer for The All State, the APSU student newspaper, in 2006. He continued working for the paper until his graduation, serving in various positions including Sports Editor and Editor-in-Chief.
In 2010, Scott contributed stories and photographs as well as designed and served as Editor-in-Chief for the monograph, Civic Art of Clarksville: The stories behind the pieces.
Scott has also produced 60 stories for The Leaf Chronicle.
You can find him on twitter @theMarlonScott and on Facebook
TopicsAnthony Bass, Clarksville, Clarksville Northeast, Clarksville TN, Coach Isaac Shelby, Isaac Shelby, Northeast Eagles Football, Northeast High, Northeast High School, Northeast High School Eagles, Northeast High School Eagles Football, Tennessee State University, TSU
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