If you asked him, though, it doesn’t mean he’ll enjoy doing it.
Kemper first started playing football when he was six when he and his older brother, Nick, attended camps. Kemper started playing tackle football in the sixth grade, and for as long as he’s been a part of the sport, he hasn’t played any other position except along the offensive line.
“That’s where I’ve always played,” said. Kemper. “I’ve never practiced for any other position.”
It’s not hard to figure out why Kemper, a member of the 2014 Marietta Daily Journal Dynamite Dozen, hasn’t budged from the spot since.
“I was about 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds in the sixth grade,” he said. “So, I’ve always been a big kid who just fit right in along the offensive line.”
Kemper’s girth continued to follow him throughout middle school into high school. A member of the Class of 2015, he now stands 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds.
“The weight came with my growth spurt,” Kemper said. “I went from 180 pounds to 200 to 240 in like the next three years and I gained it all naturally. As I got taller, I’d gain like 20 more pounds every time.”
Kemper was attracted to the offensive line position at an early age.
“I grew up watching my older brother (Nick) play center and on offensive line,” he said. “My dad (Pope coach Matt Kemper) played tackle (in college), and I just like pushing people around.”
Pushing people around is one of the things Kemper does best. As an offensive guard for the Greyhounds, he’s often tasked to pull out of the line to block defensive ends and linebackers along the edge of a play, or he goes man-to-man with the opponent he’s up against.
Being able to push people around is why Kemper enjoys run-blocking more than pass-blocking.
“With a lot of pass-blocking, it’s more of trying to receive a blow, and I’d much rather get up and hit somebody run-blocking instead of just taking a step back and catching (the blow).”
With his emphasis on run-blocking, Kemper is anxious to see how well Pope’s ground attack does this season.
“It’s coming together,” he said. “At the beginning of the season and during the summer, we were worried about whether we were going to find a running back. But, we had one kid, Bryan Terry, step up, and he’s doing really well with our offensive line. I think our running game will be pretty dominant this year.”
Kemper’s growth along the offensive line has earned him a couple of scholarship offers from Air Force, Old Dominion and Austin Peay. More offers will likely come as the season progresses.
“It’s pretty exciting (getting scholarship offers),” Kemper said. “I have those couple of offers in there. Now that I have those, I can completely focus on helping Pope win some games since we’re supposed to have a big offensive line that we can actually do some stuff with. So, we’re all really excited about it.”
Pope is expected to win some games, but it won’t be doing it as a member of Region 7AAAAA, where it finished 2-2 and 3-7 overall. The Greyhounds have moved up a classification, and capturing the Region 5AAAAAA championship will be more difficult against the likes of Walton, Lassiter, Wheeler and teams from north Fulton and Cherokee counties.
“We didn’t have a great year last year and (the move) kind of scared us at first,” Kemper said. “But, now that we’ve been practicing, we’re getting more confident. It’s pretty fun to play against guys where if you go down the street to the store, you see people that go to Walton and Lassiter and all that. It will be a community rivalry for a lot of the games, and that’ll be fun.”