Thursday night at Hornets Stadium on the campus of Alabama State University our Lee Generals will open the football season against the Lanier Poets at 7:00. The players have had enough of hitting each other and “being coached up” and are looking to hit anything blue! While Lanier is a common opponent for the Generals in many ways, city rival, scheduled yearly, and as what has been a common theme the past few years – a team that outmatches the Generals in every way. We’ve heard this before.
The Lee coaching staff has certainly had their hands full losing almost two hands full of players to college. Losing an unstoppable and capable decision-maker at quarterback in Mike Huntley, impact receiver Marquis Johnson, and of course all everything Henry Ruggs III, the coaches have played mix and match trying to find that same clockwork precision on the 2017 roster. Offensively they will rely heavily on an experienced offensive line. Cam Hill, Luke Walker, and Will Derico will lead the way for that group. The “skill” players have some very big shoes to fill but have shown a willingness to do what is needed to get the job done. Kanius Johnson
knows the offense from almost every position. While “big” Ruggs is gone, “little” Ruggs will fill in on the offensive side this year and occasionally on the defensive side. The running back will be filled by a capable committee until one of many running backs proves to be ready for substantial reps.
The defensive front will be filled with veterans and newcomers but put in a lot of new positions. Veterans DJ Davis and sideline-to-sideline player Chris Ware will be surrounded by players that have waited their turn and a few new players to the Generals roster. Possibly the strongest part of the team is the one that you hope doesn’t see much action and that is the defensive backs.
They will be anchored by the duo of JaKorey Hawkins and Edward Johnson who both have received multiple college offers this summer. It will be the front sevens ability to keep pressure up front to allow the secondary free to run to the ball.
As has been the case the past few years, the General Nation will find out early which direction this group will take. They have entered the last three or four years with “unproven” talent and low expectations from the outside “experts”. As Ann Street knows, these young student-athletes have found ways to be beyond competitive. The only common thread throughout this period has been the coaching staff and personally I believe they will not disappoint in this years product.
The time has been put in, butterflies starting to mount, and kickoff is approaching. The only thing I can close with is – everyday for twelve years, it was great to call Ann Street home!