New man in charge: Troup defensive coordinator is ready to take the reins

Published 12:30 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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When Quin Prather was hired as the new defensive coordinator at Troup High, he gave young athletes that look like him a role model in a position that can be hard to break into for people of color. Barring any further changes, when high school football kicks off in the fall, Prather will be the only non-white coordinator or head coach in Troup County.

“I want to put young men in a position to be successful,” Prather said. “I think for the kids that I’m coaching to see somebody who looks like them be a role model in something other than playing professional sports and entertainment is important.” 

It has been a meteoric rise for Prather, who was hired to be Troup’s defensive back coach back in 2020. His work speaks for itself with cornerbacks Qua Moss and CJ Sands both getting the chance to play in college in the fall. The Tigers also have one of the best safeties in the country in Noah Dixon, who Prather has helped develop in his time at Troup.

“We want to keep building on what has already been built,” Prather said. “I tell the guys, if you play hard and play for your teammates everything else will take care of itself.”

When Prather takes the defensive reins for his first game in the fall, it will be a full circle for him. When he came to Troup, the players that will be seniors next year were freshmen. Prather has grown as a coach during these last several years and that class of ‘24 has been a big part of that development. 

“This group was ninth graders when I first got here, so I’m very excited to lead these guys into their senior season,” Prather said. 

“The players were open to doing something new, but they wanted to get somebody that had been in the foxhole with them and could trust them.”

Prather envisioned himself being a defensive coordinator since he started coaching but did not expect the opportunity to come so soon in his coaching career.

“My brother is the defensive coordinator at Manchester High School and when he got that position, it made me want to take the next step,” Prather said. “I wasn’t in a rush to take the next step; it kind of just fell in my lap.”

Prather has no plans to make wholesale changes on the defense, but will, of course, be adding his own wrinkles. 

The transition from defensive back coach to defensive coordinator has been seamless for Prather, who already has a familiarity with most of the players on defense.

“I knew coach (Tanner) Glisson wanted somebody that already knew the kids and with so many coming back he wanted somebody that had a familiarity with them,” Prather said. “It’s an honor that (Glisson) trusts me in this role.”

Prather has big goals for the Tiger defense this season. After a superb defensive season a year ago, he wants to see the defense take another step forward in 2023 and with blue-chip prospects like Qua Birdsong and Dixon going into their senior seasons, an even bigger season could be in store for the Tigers’ loaded defense. 

“Last year, the defense was overshadowed a little bit by the offense, and I felt like we had a great defense last year,” Prather said. “I would like for us to give up even less points this year.”

Football season is still four months away but Prather’s duties as defensive coordinator have already ramped up as the team prepares for their upcoming spring game. 

“We lost a few guys that we will have to replace, so spring is the time to see what these guys can do,” Prather said. “Just because somebody started last year doesn’t mean they will start this year. There is going to be a strong competition at every position.”