PEMBROKE — Leading into high school football practice starting on July 30, The Robesonian’s sports staff is publishing a countdown of the top 15 players in Robeson County, and Purnell Swett’s Paul Oxendine comes in at No. 13 on the list.
One of the most consistent linemen for the Rams last season, Oxendine is transitioning to defensive end this year.
“He’s wanted it. I’ve seen him fight to get a little faster and a little quicker to be more explosive on the end spots,” head coach Jon Sherman said. “I’ve seen a lot of work and want-to out of him.”
Oxendine tallied 55 total tackles last season while also picking up one sack and forcing a fumble.
The rising senior will be looked to not only to anchor the defensive line, but also to provide leadership for a team that graduated a majority of its starters from last season.
“We just try to push them in the weight room,” Oxendine said of working with the program’s younger players.
That leadership will be especially valuable for the offensive line as the unit works to protect Micah Carter, a rising junior who will start at quarterback this season. Carter completed both of his two pass attempts last year as a backup for senior Luke Oxendine.
“We’re just trying to help him out,” Oxendine said.
The 6-foot-2 lineman said he is looking forward to increasing his numbers from last year and seeing “more boys step up” and lead the Rams’ young roster.
Oxendine said he understands the team’s lineman corps is relatively undersized, but they can work to overcome that issue during their summer workouts.
“We don’t have the speed, we don’t have the size, so hopefully we have the shape,” Oxendine said.
Oxendine said he has been working on improving his speed this summer while maintaining his weight.
Purnell Swett kicks off its season at Pine Forest on Aug. 17.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.