ST. PAULS — 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 St. Pauls’ Marqueise Coleman comes in at No. 6 on the list.
After an injury-ridden sophomore season, Coleman is set to be one of the top running backs in the county after showing flashes of his explosive ability last season.
In his nine games of action, Coleman was the third-leading rusher for St. Pauls, finishing with 775 yards on the ground and six touchdowns. Coleman rushed for 368 yards and four touchdowns in the first two games of the season, before suffering a hamstring injury.
“I’m just trying to stay healthy because last year I didn’t do so good,” he said. “I’m staying in the weight room and continuing to work out and drink more water. I’ve been working out with our coaches mostly.”
A coaching change this offseason with Mike Setzer taking over the program on an interim basis after Ernest King left for the Westover vacancy means a slightly different play style for his team. When the transition came, Coleman was one of the leaders that started the buy-in process for his team.
“I’m learning new stuff and different plays,” Coleman said. “We’re young, I know that, and we’ve got to get stronger.”
Now a junior, Coleman has seen the importance of his leadership grow this offseason.
“I’m taking a big leadership role and I’m trying to step up,” Coleman said. “I’m making sure that everyone is staying in the weight room and doing the right things.”
On a talented offense that returns a lot of young, key players, Coleman sees a lot of upside for the Bulldogs this season with a sophomore quarterback taking snaps.
“We’re capable of a lot, but we’ve just got to show everybody,” Coleman said. “We’ve got two wide receivers coming back, a tight end and another receiver coming in from Lumberton. They are pretty good too.”
As for Coleman, his goals are simple and something he said is reachable after having it slip out of his hand last year due to injury.
“I want to get my 1,000 and some yards and get a scholarship,” Coleman said. “I’m going to be better though.”
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977 or by email at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.