Football practice report: Ray Lewis III happy to share spotlight
Ray Lewis III will team up with Eustis transfer Jeremiah Sams to create a formidable backfield at Lake Mary Prep
The offensive workload for Lake Mary Prep running back Ray Lewis III, 5, likely will go down with the arrival of Eustis transfer Jeremiah Sams. (Phelan M. Ebenhack, Special to the Sentinel)
The son of seven-time NFL All-Pro linebacker Ray Lewis scored 34 of 48 touchdowns for an 8-3 team as a junior and has 63 career TDs. But even with a varsity roster of about 17 players, LMP's heavy reliance on Lewis could change drastically with the arrival of transfer Jeremiah Sams, a 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior.
Sams rushed for 1,024 yards as a junior at Eustis and picked up a Memphis offer during spring practice with the Panthers.
"Now we can put Ray in the slot, get him into space and open up our passing game more," Lake Mary Prep coach Sheddrick "Buck" Gurley said.
Lewis isn't worried about how Sams' presence will affect his stats.
"They will go down," he said before practice Monday. "I'd rather have my stats go down and win a (district) championship than have big stats and losing in the first round of the playoffs.
"Having Jeremiah opens up new windows and takes a lot of the pressure off me."
Lake Mary Prep was a district runner-up behind Lakeland Victory Christian last season.
Elsewhere during fall football practice:
● Oak Ridge is working hard to replenish its offensive line, which is returning only one starter, senior Herve Thelemaque.
The inexperienced group struggled in a 34-0 spring loss to Jones, but coach Elijah Williams does not think that game was an accurate indication of how good the Pioneers will be.
"If people think the spring game is who we are, we're going to shock some people," Williams said. "The line is still a concern, but if they get it together, we'll have a good season."
Oak Ridge looks steady at other positions. Dontay Perkins headlines a defense that returns eight starters, junior Jerrell Antoine will be a third-year starter at quarterback, and junior Trey Arthur returns after rushing for more than 1,000 yards last year.
● With last year's starter, Terrell Bonds, moving to South Florida, freshman Isaiah Wilson has assumed the reins as Liberty's QB.
"I'm impressed with what I've seen from him so far," Chargers coach David Benson said. "Our biggest strength is our skill guys, and those tools around him will make it easier."
That skill group includes senior RB Jalen Benn, who tore the meniscus in his knee last year and was limited to three games.
Benson's biggest priority is improving a defense that allowed 32 points per game last season. Toward that end, he brought in former Poinciana coach David Aubrey to be the Chargers' defensive coordinator.
"We averaged 35 points per game last year and went 4-6," Aubrey said. "If we get more sound on defense, we should be fine."
Staff writers Buddy Collings and Austin Lyon contributed to this report.