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C. E. Murray High School
Greeleyville

Coach Wilkes Welcomes 30 Varsity Football Candidates To Spring Drills At C.E. Murray

By Billy G. baker

Publisher

 Greeleyville—The first thing new head football coach Chad Wilkes said when asked about his new job at C.E. Murray was how former coach Brian Smith had instilled a winning attitude and strong work ethic in the players he is currently mentoring in spring drills.

“No doubt playing for a state title two years ago and winning the region last year has changed the culture of football at C.E. Murray and I give all the credit to Coach Smith,” said Coach Wilkes who played on two state championship teams at Cheraw High. “Brian Smith has left the program in great shape and these kids are all hard- nosed disciplined football players because of him.”

Coach Wilkes is coming to C.E. Murray from Sumter High where he coached defensive backs.

“I have retained the entire staff from last year so we should have a smooth transition with the system we use on both sides of the football,” said Coach Wilkes. “The biggest difference in 5-A football versus 1-A is that so many of your players go both ways and when I use to have two hours to spend just with the defense we are going one hour on both sides of the ball. I am having to get use to a smaller number of players also.”

Coach Wilkes said he and his staff have been working with around 30 players each afternoon during spring drills and that the numbers are up some over last year. “We still have a few players involved with the state track meet this weekend but we will be at full strength next week.”

The team will be built around USC commitment Darius Rush (6-3, 180) who is also a state champion triple jumper. “Darius will be used in several roles from receiver, corner back, running back, and even a Wildcat depending on how well our quarterbacks develop,” said Coach Wilkes. “He is a great player and also a great person. You can build a team around players like him.”

Rising junior Elijah Bey and rising sophomore Antonio McKnight are working at quarterback this spring. “McKnight will start somewhere because he can also play tight end or defensive end too,” said Coach Wilkes. “He is a solid 6-2, 200 pounds and runs really well.”

Kingstree transfer rising senior Latrell Lyons will also provide immediate help at corner back and receiver after sitting out last year. Some starters back from last year include rising senior running back Carlton Robinson, and rising junior H-back Sean Swaringer.

Rising senior Alexander Brand (6-0, 280) is moving from right tackle to center and rising senior Malik Starling is moving from center to right guard. Robinson will double up at linebacker and Swaringer will move from linebacker to defensive end where four starters graduated from last year. Rush will be at one corner and rising senior Travis Brown also returns to the secondary.

Tyrese Williams is a transfer from Jamaica and he grew up playing a lot of soccer where he learned to be a natural kicker. “He has never kicked a football in his life until his mother moved here to take a teaching job at the school,” said Coach Wilkes. “He nailed a 40 yard field goal on his first try. This young man is a natural and we are excited about having him on the team.”   

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