Versatile Diamond: SS senior hardly comes off the field

By BOBBY "BUTCH" BURNEY | News-Telegram Sports Editor

Oct. 2, 2007 - On many high school recruiting lists, a versatile football player won't be assigned a position. Instead, he will be listed as ATH, an abbreviation for athlete, meaning he can play multiple positions.

The Wildcats' resident ATH is senior Brittan Diamond.

Diamond (6-2, 195) is listed as starting linebacker, but he also can play defensive end and safety on defense. He started seven games last season at quarterback, starts this year at running back and can play receiver. He also is the team's punter.

He was Second Team All-District linebacker last season after starting the final three games there, and was the District 11-4A MVP in baseball as pitcher and infielder.

In his spare time, he likes to fish and participate in water activities.

"He can do a lot of things, he just doesn't have time for it all," said SSHS head coach Greg Owens, saying Diamond could be a top-notch track athlete and a basketball player as well. "Brittan's a great kid who has been great for this program and this school. He's probably the most gifted athlete we have on our team. He's so versatile, he can do anything."

Diamond made the transition from quarterback as a freshman to linebacker as a sophomore, back to quarterback as a junior, then finally to outside linebacker and running back.

SSHS defensive coordinator Steve Hale said outside linebacker is where Diamond will likely find the best fit in college. That is, if he isn't playing collegiate baseball.

"It was a bonus for me," Hale said of Diamond's move to defense. "That's a kid who is very athletic and has played quarterback, so he knows what all the reads are. I think he's going to be an outside linebacker in college - I think that's what he's bound for."

But, this year, Diamond can line up in several different positions. He can play both inside and outside linebacker, plus he takes on secondary responsibilities in covering receivers. He can also rush the passer as a defensive end.

"Most of the adjustments go through him," Hale said. "Not only is he athletic, but he's smart. He's a student of football, he's been around it a long time."

He is the son of LaClaire and Steve Diamond, a former coach.

This season, Diamond has 29 tackles, three for losses, plus an interception and two forced fumbles. Offensively, he has scored two touchdowns, one receiving and one rushing. Plus, Diamond has a 37.6-yard punting average, putting six of his 16 kicks inside the 20-yard line.

Last season, he had 24 tackles in three games, and as a sophomore, he tallied 20 tackles after getting three late-season starts.

It was an adjustment last season when he was moved from quarterback to linebacker with three games left in the season. But, he doesn't complain.

"I had to face what they knew was better for me and use it to my advantage," Diamond said. "I could get more bulked up playing defense, so this summer I put on about 20 pounds and also put on some speed.

"Wherever they play me, I'm going to try to do the best I can."

Where they play him is basically everywhere.

"I don't get much time off," he added, "which is the way I like it."

Hale said the move improved the defense.

"I know he wanted to play quarterback, and it was an adjustment for him," said Hale. "He was a good quarterback, but he made us so much better on defense because of his toughness and leadership and versatility.

"It allowed us to be able to do so much because he is so versatile."

Owens said his mindset is also a bonus.

"Brittan's a great kid who wants to win - that's his No. 1 thing," Owens said. "He's an unselfish player. He says, 'Coach, I don't care, just put me wherever.' "

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