Whiteland offensive lineman Tarnjeet Singh is both very young and old for his grade.
Singh, the Warriors’ strong tackle, doesn’t turn 17 until Monday. Nonetheless, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound senior’s maturity level is one of his team’s greatest assets as it prepares for the upcoming season.
“I started playing football in the seventh grade,” Singh said. “In middle school I went for it and started loving it more and more. Once I was in high school, coach (Darrin) Fisher told me I could be a good player, and if I work hard I could be a starter.”
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This is precisely what happened.
A starter for Whiteland’s freshman squad in 2013 and the Warriors’ junior varsity as a sophomore, Singh remained committed to what he started rather than growing tired waiting for his chance.
Older teammates eventually graduated and he stepped into the starter’s role in 2015.
Singh’s combination of quickness and athleticism played a major role in Whiteland’s ability to generate an average of 322.5 yards of total offense last season. The 7-3 finish marked the program’s fifth winning season in six years.
“With Tarnjeet, it’s consistency with effort,” said Fisher, who in 11 seasons owns a record of 81-45 (.643) to go along with five Mid-State Conference and three sectional titles. “He’s consistent with everything he does whether it’s in the classroom, in the weight room or on the practice field.
“He does exactly what he’s supposed to do. And Tarnjeet sells something positive to our team every day. He loves football and loves everything about it. And he wants his teammates to love it.”
Singh’s family moved to Whiteland before the start of his second-grade school year (2006-07). He’s near the top of his class academically with a 4.24 grade-point average.
He would like to eventually major in something pertaining to the medical field. Singh has been offered a scholarship to play college football at Valparaiso University, which competes as a program in the Football Subdivision Championship of Division I.
Others currently showing interest are the University of Indianapolis (Division II), Marian University (NAIA) and the University of St. Francis (NAIA).
Interest in Singh could very well pick up once Whiteland’s season begins.
The Warriors open against 2015 Class 5A runner-up New Palestine at Lucas Oil Stadium in the nightcap of a doubleheader Aug. 19. Whiteland’s home opener the following week is opposite reigning Class 6A state champion Center Grove.
Facing two of the state’s premier high school football programs in as many weeks will surely provide stern opposition for Whiteland’s deception-based fly offense.
Singh, the definitive offensive lineman who is more concerned with “W’s” than he is statistics, looks forward to the challenge.
So, too, do his teammates.
“Tarnjeet brings a lot to the team,” Whiteland senior running back Anthony Schantz said. “He has size and speed and is also a leader for the offensive line by his experience and his knowledge to help younger players.
“To have him on the offensive line is huge, because I can always count on him to do his job.”
THE SINGH FILE
Name: Tarnjeet Singh
Born: Jamaica, New York
Family: Parents, Jaspal and Sarbjit Sandhu; brother, Jatinder, 24
Favorite TV show: “The Walking Dead”
Favorite food: Chicken and rice
Favorite movie: “Remember the Titans”
Favorite athlete: Odell Beckham Jr.
Favorite team: New York Giants