ROWLAND — 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 South Robeson’s Marquise Murphy comes in at No. 11 on the list.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 330-pound lineman is expected to be a leader on both sides of the ball for a team that lost two of its main playmakers from last season in Darrius Brown and Darius Wright.
“Marquise is going to be one of our main guys on the offensive line and defensive line,” South Robeson head coach Clay Jernigan said. “He’s been to a couple camps and he’s had a good summer.”
The Mustangs finished 3-9 last season and claimed seventh place in the Three Rivers Conference. Their season ended with a loss to Plymouth in the second round of the NCHSAA state playoffs.
Murphy said the team is ready to build off of that run.
“We’ve got a little more players. We’ve got a lot of new guys,” Murphy said.
Murphy said those newer players will mostly be adding depth to South Robeson’s roster, rather than filling voids left by graduates.
“We didn’t have that many players to replace, so it didn’t come that hard,” Murphy said.
That added depth will be integral for the Mustangs as they look to reinstate their junior varsity team, but it will also mean more support for players like Murphy who help lead the team’s run-first offense.
It will also help bolster the Mustang secondary, which Murphy said is one of the team’s strongest areas.
“We still have a lot of work to do though,” Murphy said.
For Murphy in particular, that work will center around becoming a role model for the rest of the Mustangs.
“We need him to be a leader on the offensive and defensive line,” Jernigan said.
South Robeson’s season kicks off on Aug. 24 at Union in Rose Hill. South Robeson lost to Union 32-6 at home in last year’s season opener.
Reach Brandon Tester at 910-816-1989 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @BrandonTester.