Just days after his visit to Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights and a week after participating in the University of Georgia’s Dawg Night, five-star recruit Raekwon McMillan was back at Liberty County High School, joking with his teammates and pumping iron.
McMillan and his Panther teammates know the season is about to begin and they are building up muscles and camaraderie during a three-day football camp at the school.
The boys want to improve on last year’s 6-4 record. The first obstacle will be Bradwell Institute on Aug. 30.
As Panther Jeremy Caldwell-Fabregas stacked the plates on the barbell his teammates started to chant.
“Oh yeah, come on,” McMillan egged him on.
Fabregas took a deep breath, squatted, lifted the bar and then cleared the lift over his head. The weight room broke out in excited cheers and the next player took his turn at the lift.
This was just day one.
The camp helps players acclimate to the weather. Coach Kirk Warner had the boys run drills in their helmets, but come Thursday, they will wear full gear. Warner said the camp also will build team morale and he was prepared to lead by example.
“Come on now, don’t let this old man show you up,” he taunted lineman Kharn-Collier Ellison, who partnered with the coach during a drill.
Warner picked up a 20-pound medicine ball and tossed it over his head to Ellison.
“This feels like throwing a softball,” he joked.
Beads of sweat rolled down Ellison’s face as he kept the pace up, getting a breather only when the whistle blew to mark the start of the next workout station.
“Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about,” Warner yelled. “Let’s keep it moving, guys.”
Offensive coordinator Ryan Glazer said the boys worked hard all summer. He said several players in addition to McMillan are being scouted, and the boys want to make the right impression with a winning season and a playoff shot.
He said Ole Miss expressed interest in freshman Richard LeCounte and, while that will make LeCounte work harder, the boys have to focus on upcoming games.
“We getting ready for Bradwell,” LeCounte and a few other players shouted while doing pushups on the track.
On the other side of town, in all likelihood, the Tigers are doing the same.
Pre-season is two weeks away. Bradwell will host Wayne County and Liberty plays at Glynn Academy. The battle line will be drawn at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30 when the Panthers host the Tigers.