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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Baylor's Caleb Hampton (34) runs the ball during the football game between McCallie School and Baylor on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

The Ensworth defense knew what was coming at them last Friday but still couldn't stop Caleb Hampton from picking up tough yards on the ground behind his sturdy Baylor blockers.

Playing in a hostile environment the Red Raiders turned to Hampton in the first round of the Division II-AAA state playoffs. The 5-foot-9, 200-pounder answered by rumbling for 252 yards on 44 tough carries in that 21-13 road victory.

"We are a hard-working team and play with grit," Hampton said. "All of my lineman and I study and watch a ton of film. We went out there and executed and dominated the clock while running them out of breath. We kept our pace and momentum going."

For that effort, Hampton has been named this week's Times Free Press Player of the Week.

The explosive runner has rushed for 1,513 yards on 215 carries with 18 scores in 10 games played. He has rushed for at least 180 yards or four touchdowns in six games for the Red Raiders (7-4) who will travel to take on Montgomery Bell Academy (7-3) in the second round of the playoffs Friday night.

Not only does Baylor's junior excel on the gridiron, but he also is committed to South Carolina for baseball. He wears No. 34, which is also the jersey number his favorite slugger David Ortiz wore with the Boston Red Sox.

Hampton has speed and power on the diamond and considers baseball his first love.

"Jackie Robinson is one of my heroes and biggest inspirations," Hampton said. "He played the game all out and with a love for it and everybody around him."

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Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Baylor running back Caleb Hampton carried the ball 44 times in the Red Raiders' 21-13 win over MBA in the first round of Division II-AAA playoffs last Friday.

Like Robinson, who starred in baseball and football for the UCLA Bruins, Hampton aspires to play both in college as well. South Carolina has shown interest in him playing both, while he has also been heavily recruited by Missouri and Duke among others.

Hampton's cousin Maurice Hampton Jr. was a standout sophomore defensive back in the 2020 college football season for LSU, while he also played for the Tigers' baseball team the past two seasons. Maurice became the first player in Tennessee history to win Mr. Football and Mr. Baseball in 2018 starring for Memphis University School.

Hoping to lead Baylor to a state title in football, Hampton will also be an integral part to a Baylor baseball team next spring that looks to win a fourth straight state championship.

"I want to play baseball and football in college," Hampton said. "That's been my goal ever since I was a kid. My mom let me go out for football when I was 8. I love both sports and will keep putting my best work in to go as far as I can in both."

Hampton's hard work which has shaped him into a two-sport standout includes being a weight room warrior. He benches 295 pounds, power cleans 305 and squats 425.

"I live in the weight room," Hampton said. "I look up to Saquon Barkley in football a lot. The way he works on and off the field is unlike many. I try to be in the best shape possible all the time to help my team when they need me."

Baylor certainly will need to call on Hampton's number a few more times as the Red Raiders look to exact revenge on an MBA team which beat them 38-28 earlier this season.

"Being on the road doesn't phase us," Hampton said. "We are going to go there as a team and win as a team."

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.

 

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