While senior Liberty County linebacker Raekwon McMillian was celebrating the end of his career at the Under Armor All-America Game in St. Petersburg, Fla., his freshman teammate and close friend, Richard LeCounte, was going through his first national exposure.
LeCounte was selected to play in Saturday’s Eastbay All American Bowl in San Antonio by Football University’s National Recruiting Director Eric Richards last November after discovering his highlights on Yahoo Sports that had 300,000 hits.
The video and the statistics LeCounte put up for the Panthers this season made him one of the early leaders for the MaxPreps Freshman of the Year. LSU commit Dylan Moses won that honor, with LeCounte as runner-up. “Being selected to the Eastbay All America game has been great, meeting guys that I can play with again in the near future,” LeCounte said.
LeCounte, who was among the 50 best freshman in the United States in the game, was elected captain of the East squad.
“Richard was a great talent on the field, but the thing that surprised everyone was how big a hit off the field he was,” Richards said. “He truly was Mr. Congeniality this week at all the festivities and was voted captain by his peers. We look forward to watching him grow.”
In the game, held after the US Army All American Bowl in the Alamodome, LeCounte played in the secondary and also returned kicks.
“I didn’t have to make many tackles because nothing got past our defensive line or linebackers,” LeCounte said.
Late in the game, LeCounte returned a kick 96 yards to put the East up, 23-16.
“I knew if I caught it, all I needed was 20 yards to take it home,” LeCounte said.
The West added its own kickoff-return score, knotting the game at 23-23.
East opened the scoring in overtime when running back Akers took a pass from quarterback Davis Mills 16 yards for a touchdown and Hunter Reed kicked the extra point.
West immediately responded when Tyjon Lindsey caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Lindell Stone, but Grant Ryerse’s extra point kick was blocked to clinch East’s 30-29 win.
“This week has showed me that I can play with the elite players in the country, but I have to keep getting better and work hard,” LeCounte said. “The one thing that will separate talent is strength. Strength is key in any sport, especially football, so I really want to work hard in the weight room.”