Notre Dame's Kareem Orr Looking For Big Results

All-State Player Already Committed To Louisville

Friday, August 22, 2014 - by John Hunt

(This is the 16th in a series of preseason stories on new high school football coaches, or veteran coaches at a different school, and top players in the Chattanooga area)

Notre Dame’s football team has won 18 games in the first two years of Charles Fant’s time as the Fighting Irish head coach.

The Signal Mountain Eagles have beaten Notre Dame in both of those years, keeping the guys in green and gold from winning the District 7-AA championship.

Notre Dame currently has 18 seniors on its football roster and a bunch of returning starters on both sides of the ball.

None are any more talented or valuable than Kareem Orr, last year’s 7-AA Player of the Year and an All-State pick.  He’s just gotten better as he’s gotten older and colleges have taken notice.

Just recently he made a public commitment to the Louisville Cardinals where the six-foot, 190-pound 17-year-old hopes to see action next fall as a defensive back.

“Everything just felt right when I visited there and I’ve already established a good relationship with Terrell Buckley, their defensive backs coach.  I feel like I have a good chance to start next fall as a defensive back,” Orr nodded.

“Kareem is such an emotional leader for this football team.  When he gets up, everybody responds in a positive way.  When he’s quiet, the others are quiet too, but it’s nice to see him developing into the player he’s become,” Fant said after school dismissed on Wednesday afternoon.

“Today he’s best as a receiver and he can play there at the next level, but he also has the potential to play safety as his speed increases.  Just throw the ball in his area and he’ll come down with it.  He dropped two passes in the jamboree last week and I can’t remember the last time that happened,” the coach continued.

“With Alex Darras (starting quarterback) getting hurt early in pre-season camp, we’re using a backup who’s never played quarterback.  Having Kareem in the same backfield gives him the confidence to move our offense,” the coach praised the work of junior backup Nicholas Coronis.

“I expect a lot of Friday night leadership from Kareem, but he’s the one to pump them up when things don’t go our way.  He does more than just stand around.  He’s been nursing a tender hamstring recently, but he still works with the younger guys while he’s not playing.  That’s so awesome.

“We’re strong this year, but watching this group of seniors develop has been fun.  Now is the time as there’s no waiting until next year.  Signal Mountain has kept us from winning the district the last two years and that will be our big game this year.

“We’re expecting to win again this year as we must be victorious.  We have a process where we love them, but we also demand a lot from them.  We’ve set some pretty high expectations and we don’t let them fall below that level.

“Every player has to earn his starting position every year, but Kareem and I have a special relationship.  He’s a heck of a player as he’s all business on the football field, but he has fun in the process,” the coach concluded.

Orr accounted for more than 1,700 yards a year ago when he scored 17 touchdowns for the Fighting Irish.  He also had six interceptions, including one for a TD while making 67 tackles from his safety position.

He’s quick to admit that he wants the ball in his hands, but he also enjoys delivering a big hit on defense.

“I love having the ball in my hands, but I also enjoy playing defense.  It feels so good to hit an opponent hard.  It also feels pretty good to catch a nice touchdown pass.  We feel like we have a chance to go all the way,” the son of Aaron and Marion Orr said with confidence.

“I just want to lead this team to a state championship and to beat Signal Mountain,” he added emphatically.

Orr does more than just play football as he’s a star on the basketball court and he’s also on the Notre Dame baseball team.  And he’s seriously thinking about playing soccer in the spring.

“I work hard every day.  I want everyone else to get better because I want them to succeed too.  We have to get the job done this fall, but I’m ready,” he concluded.

Notre Dame starts its season tonight with a home game against Knoxville Catholic.

Kareem Orr’s final season in a Notre Dame football uniform is about to begin.  With an outstanding supporting cast, who knows how the upcoming season will end.

He just hopes it’s in Cookeville at the Class AA state championship game.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)

 


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