New Tyler Lee head coach Clayton George has enjoyed a successful preseason.

His team seems to have bought into his theories of discipline while South Tyler residents are beginning to believe their Red Raiders, with time, can again be what they once were.

Lee will begin the 2016 season ranked fifth in's Class 6A/5A Poll. It is ahead of No. 6 Texas High, No. 7 Nacogdoches, No. 8 Hallsville, No. 9 Lindale and No. 10 Whitehouse as the first 6A team named in the poll.

The good news for the aforementioned 5A teams is that Lee's presence elevates their standing within their own classification by one position each.

George inherited a program in February that has a recent reputation of possessing an explosive offense but also an underperforming defense.

The one thing we know about this team is the future is bright for quarterback Chance Amie. He started three games last season as a sophomore while former star quarterback Zach Hall nursed a knee injury.

Amie virtually matched Hall's big numbers.

Hall accepted a scholarship invitation to join Stephen F. Austin after the season ended.

Lee had to go back to the well to find new offensive players, which is why the team isn't ranked higher. Only three starters are back -- four if you count Amie -- and the receiving corps and running backs depth was wiped out by graduation.

Three starters also return on defense. They were actually the most valuable defenders.

Senior safety MaKyle Sanders has offers from Air Force, Memphis and Navy ahead of the season. Senior defensive linemen and linebacker in-betweener Campbell Miller and junior defensive end Nathan Niedrauer are also interested in seeing what the season could bring college wise.

We think Lee will ultimately find all the talent it would need to compete with the other teams named in the poll reveal with 2,580 students to choose from.

Is that good enough for District 11-6A and the biggest schools in the state at large? The league is no joke with John Tyler, Longview, Mesquite, Mesquite Horn, North Mesquite, Rockwall and Rockwall-Heath running around.

Great non-district games against Marshall, Nacogdoches and Corsicana will be the gauge of who the Red Raiders will be this season. All of those opponents are 5A schools.

Perhaps Marshall will join Lee and Nacogdoches in the poll?

We'll see as the unveiling continues.

2016 Tyler Lee Red Raiders Football Schedule

Aug. 26MarshallW 34-7
Sept. 2at CorsicanaW 34-20
Sept. 9NacogdochesL 24-17
Sept. 16*at Rockwall-HeathL 34-7
Sept. 23*LongviewL 56-35
Sept. 30*at Mesquite HornL 63-35
Oct. 7OPEN
Oct. 14*at MesquiteL 57-56
Oct. 21*RockwallL 42-35
Oct. 28*at North MesquiteL 63-61
Nov. 4*vs. John TylerL 49-28 Preseason Class 6A/5A Poll

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