RED SPRINGS — Leading into high school football practice starting on July 31, The Robesonian’s sports reporter Jonathan Bym is publishing a countdown of the top 15 players in Robeson County, and Red Springs’ Lee McLean comes in at No. 14 on the list.
With the departure of the Red Devils’ top two rushers from last year, McLean, who saw time sparingly in the backfield, takes over as the workhorse back this year.
“I’m trying to be better as a running back and as a team player,” McLean said. “I’m trying to be a leader, even though it’s not my last year. I’m going to play like it’s my last year.”
This year isn’t McLean’s last year, neither is next year as the sophomore has taken responsibility with the team at a young age.
“He comes to work everyday, he’s business-like and he’s mature beyond his age,” Red Springs coach Lawrence Ches said. “He’s only a sophomore but you’d think he’s a senior with his attitude and his work ethic.”
McLean is a young face that steps into a new role with this team. His sophomore class is one that Ches said makes up the bulk of the roster and he highlights that unit.
“It’s going to be harder because we’ve got new kids coming in. We’ve got a young team,” McLean said. “I can be a leader. I think I should be a leader.”
Being one of the main offensive threats, leadership qualities will be important this year for McLean with a new quarterback, a majority of the receivers and offensive lineman.
“He’s about as focused and determined as we’ve got on this team,” Ches said.
McLean tends to let his play speak for him with his soft-spoken demeanor, but he enters his second season with high marks for himself as a rusher and the team that returns a lot of talent on defense. A defensive unit that should provide him with the ball off stops and turnovers.
“I’m trying to be the best running back in the county and get past the second round of the state playoffs,” McLean said. “Hopefully we will be the conference champions and I’ll be the leading rusher (in the conference).
“I’m still going to play my heart out and try to be the best.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.