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Smyrna's Jayden Marable and Arion Carter have forged bond that will continue at Memphis

The Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro) logo The Daily News Journal (Murfreesboro) 8/15/2022 Cecil Joyce, Murfreesboro Daily News Journal

Smyrna senior football players Arion Carter and Jayden Marable have forged a special bond over the past four seasons, starting when they were both varsity players as freshmen.

That union will last another four years, as the two have both committed to Memphis.

"We've always worked together in the weight room, he's always helped me with my grades, and he's always pushed me and I've pushed him in practice," said Marable, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive lineman. "We really want what's best for each other. I think we'll be good at Memphis."

Smyrna's Arion Carter (11) runs the ball as MBA's Gabe Fisher (52) moves in for a tackle during a scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at Smyrna High School. © HELEN COMER/The Daily News Journal Smyrna's Arion Carter (11) runs the ball as MBA's Gabe Fisher (52) moves in for a tackle during a scrimmage on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, at Smyrna High School.

"It's just a camaraderie we've had, growing up as brothers, playing and fighting on and off the field," added Carter, a 6-2, 210-pound running back/linebacker. "That's made us closer. Knowing we'll have each other when we get to Memphis is a great thing."

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Earning substantial time on the varsity as freshmen wasn't simply because the two are great athletes. Their maturity on the field had a lot to do with it.

"They're two special young men who are sort of cut from the same cloth," Smyrna coach Matt Williams said. "They're good character kids who you love to be around. Whenever you walk in the door and see them, it puts a smile on your face."

Before Carter and Marable get to Memphis, they have some unfinished goals at the high school level.

"I just want to get past the first round (of the TSSAA 6A playoffs)," Marable said. "With (Arion) and me as captains, we just want to lead the team, make sure everybody is straight. We want to make sure we don't get injured this season and stay as one unit."

The two will be essential to the success of the Bulldogs this season, so needing to stay healthy is an understatement. Marable played just five games last season and Carter played in eight, including missing the team's first-round playoff loss to Gallatin.

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"I'm eating healthier and took a lot of pride in my body (over the offseason), stamina-wise," said Carter, who finished with 962 yards and 16 touchdowns last season. "I'm just trying to make the right (health) decisions and making sure, longevity-wise, I'm ready for a deep playoff run."

After enjoying a big year defensively as a sophomore, Carter didn't play defense last season, but is back playing on both sides of the ball this year. He is expected to play linebacker at Memphis.

"This year I want to make an impact and dominate (defensively)," Carter said.

Marable and Carter made completely independent decisions to commit to Memphis. Marable was first, choosing the Tigers on June 25. Carter followed on July 20. 

"He went to camp there first, then I was invited up there and they offered me on the spot," Marable said. "After that, I saw him commit, and (then) we talked about it."

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"When he committed, I didn't have a school in mind yet," Carter said. "After the coaches and I started getting closer, that's what pushed me. (Both teammates committing to the same school) was just kind of luck. I know for me, personally, I was going to pick what was best for me as a student athlete.

"It just turns out it was a great fit for both of us."

Smyrna opens the season at home against rival Stewarts Creek on Friday (7 p.m. kickoff).

Reach Cecil Joyce at cjoyce@dnj.com or 615-278-5168 and on Twitter @Cecil_Joyce.

This article originally appeared on Murfreesboro Daily News Journal: Smyrna's Jayden Marable and Arion Carter have forged bond that will continue at Memphis

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