LUMBERTON — 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 Lumberton’s Braylan Grice comes in at No. 3 on the list.
Grice has grown up this summer and his maturity is one thing that Lumberton coach Mike Setzer is most excited about for his junior quarterback this season.
“This summer I’ve seen just his maturity level grow. He’s continuing to mature on and off the field and I’m excited about him,” Setzer said. “He’s set some goals for himself that I think will help him grow a little better.”
A two-year starter for the Pirates under center, Grice maturity shows when he says what he expects to do this year.
“I’ve just got to show up and show out at the games, and be more focused than I was last year,” he said. “I played too much. I’m more mature.”
After what he considered a down year last season, Grice is determined to make his junior year his standout season. Over his first two seasons, Grice has thrown for over 1,300 yards each year and totaled 21 touchdowns in that time.
“I definitely have to do a lot better than last year because last year was like a bum year for me,” Grice said. ”My completion percentage was bad so I’m going to try and pick that up.
“Just trying to do better than last year, that’s my motivation.”
With a motivated Grice at quarterback, the rest of the offense for the Pirates returns a lot of its talent. The receiving corps is what takes is making the biggest change of face with newcomers and players stepping up the depth chart. Even with the changes out there, Grice isn’t concerned.
“We’ve just got to practice, practice, practice,” Grice said of his receivers. “They are next level kids.
“I feel a little better than last year because we look a little more athletic and faster.”
Before his sophomore season, Grice picked up offers from Appalachian State and UNC Charlotte and went this offseason without adding any other offers, but a player’s junior year is typically when the attention picks up. That has Setzer feeling this is Grice’s year to shine.
“He’s a thoroughbred so we’ve got to race him, got to let him out of the stable,” Setzer said. “There isn’t no hiding him now, there isn’t no hiding him really last year. It’s just the fact now that everyone knows he’s a big-arm talent. It’s now or never for him.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.