By Matt Jenkins
---- — Injuries and bad luck prevented Bobby Tarr from making an early impact on the football field for Bentley University.
Perseverance and hard work turned Tarr’s fortunes around in his final few years on the Waltham campus, and the former Bishop Fenwick star will be honored for his effort today.
Tarr will be receiving the 2012 Nason Award for Senior Achievement from the New England Football Writers tonight at the annual Captains and Awards Banquet at the Montvale Plaza in Stoneham.
The Nason Award, which has been given out yearly since 1958, is presented to a senior who has overcome adversity to shine on the football field.
“The award itself means a lot,” Tarr, the 23-year-old Byfield resident, said. “It means my coaches and other people think highly of me and think I’ve done a good job overcoming some tough injuries. I’m happy I picked Bentley; I love the coaches and the players I’ve played with, and the ups and downs we’ve had.”
Tarr concluded his football career by rushing for 482 yards on 104 carries in eight games this season. He scored five rushing touchdowns and also caught five passes for 120 yards and another score.
In total, Tarr ran for 2,091 yards on 372 carries with 13 TDs. Junior year was his best season when he ran for 860 yards and five touchdowns.
Tarr had to overcome a few setbacks to even step on the field.
He had surgery on his hip before his freshman year, then got sick, suffering from chest pain, elbow pain, and back pain. Initially, he was told that he had a heart attack, before being correctly diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle.
Even through all that, Tarr has no regrets about his experience at Bentley.
“It’s part of my life and maybe I’m better off for it,” Tarr said. “Toward the end of my career I was a little more fortunate with it and I wouldn’t look back on it as a bad experience or have any regret.”
Tarr took an impressive high school football resume with him to Bentley, having rushed for 5,576 yards and 69 touchdowns over a three-year career with the Crusaders.
He may not have dominated his college opponents the same way he did in high school, but he definitely found his niche with the Falcons.
“He can make something out of nothing,” Bentley offensive coordinator Darin Colucci told The Salem News last year. “All Bobby needs is the smallest crack and he can get small and accelerate, and before you know it he’s in the next level making a play.”
One of Tarr’s collegiate goals was to advance to the postseason. The Falcons came up short in achieving that goal, but Tarr is moving on with nothing but positive memories.
“We never made the playoffs, but I’ll remember the coaches I played for and probably most importantly my teammates and the friends I made,” Tarr said. “I made so many great relationships and had so much fun playing alongside my teammates.”