ETSN.fm Class 4A Preseason Poll: No. 1, Liberty-Eylau
Is this the year of the Leopard?
Liberty-Eylau closes the introduction of the ETSN.fm Class 4A Preseason Poll as the No. 1 overall team within East Texas. It's up to the team to show it belongs from here.
We can't find a weakness with head coach Steve Wells' squad. More than that, we see college-caliber talent all over the field.
Junior defensive end LaGaryonn Carson headlines a big group of college prospects on the 2015 Leopards team. He exploded in the offseason with nine offers, including invitations to one day join Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas or Texas A&M.
But this is more athlete Ke'Mon Freeman and cornerback Andre Wiley Jr.'s team. The two seniors hold a combined nine offers from FBS schools.
A group of six other seniors are playing for a postgraduate career and even more players are expected to be standouts on the high school level.
Liberty-Eylau brings back 13 starters from its 2014 Class 4A Division I, Region II championship game team. The season ended with a three-point loss to Argyle which, in turn, lost the state championship game in double overtime to Navasota.
Argyle in particular is also pretty well intact and has reloaded to a championship level quite a few times in the past. It's seeking its third straight championship appearance and its fourth in a five-year span.
Other Region II contestants that could make a serious playoff run include No. 4 Athens, Van, Kennedale and Paris. Each regional school's student enrollment dwarfs Liberty-Eylau's population of 346 students. Athens has 639 more people to theoretically work with.
Yet the Leopards have stumbled upon serious talent to make up for the sheer numbers gap ahead of realignment in February.
Depth isn't a serious concern either. The team has 28 returning lettermen while losing 13 letter winners.
Freeman, running back Lamont Byrd and receiver Thurman Morbley are critical skill players back on an offensive unit that 33.6 points per game last season.
Eight starters are back to old roles on the defensive side of the ball. A defense that became dominant through a six-game winning streak that followed a 1-5 start last season.
Wiley and Carson will be joined by Freeman at safety, Morbley at cornerback, Arymis Johnson at safety and Demarcus Pegue II at linebacker as the big names.
Pittsburg, Princeton, Paris and Paris North Lamar present challenges in District 7-4A Division I, but Liberty-Eylau has a daunting non-district schedule to get ready for those teams.
The Leopards will open the season in six days at No. 2 Gilmer followed by games against Mount Pleasant, Texarkana (Ark.) Arkansas High, Tatum and Atlanta.
2015 Liberty-Eylau Leopards Football Schedule
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ETSN.fm Class 4A Preseason Poll
- No. 1: Liberty-Eylau
- No. 2: Gilmer
- No. 3: Gladewater
- No. 4: Athens
- No. 5: Carthage
- No. 6: Chapel Hill
- No. 7: Jasper
- No. 8: Atlanta
- No. 9: Henderson
- No. 10: Tatum