With 105 days from May 14’s Spring Showcase to the opening day of the season, Plano East is using spring practice to focus on the foundation to build the program.
For the first time with the program, freshman and sophomore students are able to participate in the spring workout programs for the Panthers football team. Having the kids in house, head coach Joey McCullough believes will be a big advantage compared to years past.
“The confidence is being built in the weight room and kids are just becoming stronger,” McCullough said. “We’ve got great coaches at Plano East, McMillen and Williams to help them and I think it will pay big dividends. Just getting to know them and get them used to the program’s expectations is a huge difference.”
With the underclassmen working out early, some of the kids have begun to stand out for Plano East early in the offseason. The Panthers are using this opportunity to view the young talent and see how it can incorporate into the team.
One player that stood out was freshman Chima Chineke, a 6-foot-3 defensive end with the size and strength to be a high-level pass rusher. He’s caught the attention of coaches early in camp.
“Chima has had a really good spring,” McCullough said. “He has the ability to be a really good player with his ability to run. We’ve got really good depth across our four-man front on the defensive line. They can get after the quarterback and also take on a lineman to give our linebackers room to get after the ball.”
After struggling last season, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, Plano East has a group it feels confident in with the size of the defensive line, a secondary that has done a great job in creating turnovers in 7-on-7 games and a linebacker core that has really stood out through practices. After losing starting middle linebacker Austin Weeks, players like Jaxon Atchley and others have stepped up into the spotlight.
By Kyle Grondin • [email protected]