Senior AJ Wren of Charleston just completed a whale of a high school football season, first playing in a state championship game and then participating in not one but two postseason All-Star games.
Being selected for an All-Star game in any sport is a tremendous honor, but being asked to play in more than one during the same campaign is historically very rare.
The former Charleston schools product, who had been a standout player as a 2019 sophomore with the Charleston High School Tigers — where he compiled nearly 1,000 yards on offense and special teams and 48 tackles on defense — in 2020 enrolled at Kirk Academy in Grenada as CHS and the rest of the East Tallahatchie School District went virtual due to COVID-19.
As a two-year starter for the Kirk football team, Wren continued racking up impressive statistics on the gridiron.
During his senior year alone, the 5-9, 170-pounder who continued to start both ways — at running back and wide receiver on offense and at cornerback on defense — compiled 2,372 yards and scored 27 touchdowns while also registering 35 tackles and snaring three interceptions for Kirk.
In 2021, Wren was a major force in helping the Raiders claw their way to the school’s first state championship game appearance since 2008, when, ironically, Wren’s former CHS head coach, Scott Martin, was the head coach at Kirk.
The Raiders, who finished 2021 with an overall mark of 9-6, ultimately lost the 2021 Midsouth Association of Independent Schools’ Nov. 19 Class 4A state title game to a 14-1 Tri-County team from Flora. Wren caught five passes for 129 yards and one touchdown for Kirk. The TD was a reception that he made 6 yards beyond the line of scrimmage and parlayed into a 58-yard catch and run.
A seven-time Kirk Player of the Game honoree who after one outing was honored as Player of the Game both on offense and defense, Wren was named 2021 All-MAIS Football Team Offensive Player of the Year in Class 4A.
On Dec. 3, Wren played in the 2021 MAIS All-Star Football Game at Jackson Prep.
He followed that up with a Dec. 30 performance in the inaugural Magnolia State North/South All Star Game at East Central Community College in Decatur, where he was honored as the Best Offensive Performer for the winning North team. The game featured top senior football players from all public and private school classifications — the first All-Star game in the state to combine private school and public school athletes.
Wren, who is the son of Deborah Curtis-Wren of Charleston and Antione Wren Sr. of Batesville, and the grandson of Alma Curtis and the late Albert Curtis Jr. of Charleston and Jimmy Lester and the late Octavia Laws-Lester of Batesville, has received several offers to play collegiate football but has yet to commit, said his mother.
She said he plans to continue his football career while also majoring in sports medicine.