February 9, 2009

Coach Speak: Alec Lemon

Gambrils (MD) Arundel wide receiver Alec Lemon is the lone receiver in the 2009 class for Syracuse University. While a senior in high school Lemon had some great numbers. CuseConfidentialcom caught up with Arundel Head Coach Chuck Markiewicz to find out more about the newest Orange receiver.

Lemon, 6-foot-2, 185 pounds can obviously put up solid numbers as he recorded 103 receptions, 23 touchdowns, and over 1,600 receiving yards. Putting up numbers is not all that the prospect can do.

"Well I think that three things kind of standout. He could be faster, I mean he is not a blazer by any stretch of the imagination, but he runs great routes, catches the ball well, and he is a really good blocker. That might be one thing that is overlooked about him, he is a tenacious blocker because he really works at it and it is something he likes to do."

With his ability to help the offense in such a big way what are the two star prospects weaknesses?

"He probably has to gain some weight, but normally a freshman on a good weight program will probably gain fifteen pounds."

Playing in high school the competition level was not the greatest for Lemon. When it comes to hitting the field in the Big East conference Lemon's coach thinks that the players he lines up against will play a big part in the biggest adjustment for Lemon.

"Every corner he sees and everybody that he plays against in the Big East is going to be twice as good as anybody he has ever played against in high school. The challenge for him is going to be step up every week. It is a difference from Arundel High School to Syracuse, but I am sure he will make that adjustment."

However, Markiewicz is not worried about his former player making it at the next level. Over the past few years Markiewicz had been a first hand witness of what the Maryland product is capable of.

"I think the thing that will get him over the hump early is preparation, film work, and knowing his opposition and those kinds of things. The physical stuff he will catch up with simply because he does it every day."

"When he initially came to us he would come up in eighth grade and come lift after school with our football team. When he made the decision that he wanted to play division one football he just did everything he could. He knew he had to get faster and stronger and he would do all of those things. He would work out with us and then go see a personal trainer twice times a week. He will make the adjustments that he needs to make because it is something that he wants to do."

One may look at Lemon's numbers from his senior year and think that he was the whole Arundel offense, but that was not the case. Lemon was indeed the focal point, but he was a focal point on a team filled with talented players.

"He was our go to guy, but our whole offense was not based around him. We have another kid that caught 20 touchdown passes, our quarterback threw 56 touchdowns. Alec was our go to guy and he would make plays, but we did not go out of our way to do that for him. The offense was built around him, but it wasn't, our fourth receiver caught 40 passes."

The Arundel offense could help the transition for Lemon when he starts college. Doug Marrone has talked about opening his offense up and the style is very similar to Arundel.

"I have not had a full back or tight end in my offense since 1990. We started a run and shoot, it turned into a spread, and now we are a no huddle snap it 100 times football team."

It is no question that Lemon can perform on the field, but he makes his presence felt off the field as well.

"He is not a real demonstrative guy, but we had a little rocky going early in the season. He closed the door and would not let the coaches in. He leads by example and he is not afraid to say something if something needs to be said."

Sports are a big part of Alec Lemon's life and he is not content with just actively participating in them. The future member of the Orange wants to be the best at what he is doing.

"Alec was toying with the idea of playing lacrosse and one of the kids on the team said "Coach I have been playing sports with Alec since we were seven years old and every team we have ever played on together he was the best player on the team within two weeks." At soccer he is the best player on the team, at baseball he was the best player on the team. We have a state caliber baseball team here and he was starting at first base as a sophomore. He decided he wanted to get a division one scholarship for football so he stopped playing."

Was Markiewicz a believer in what Lemon had set out to do right way or did it take him time to think he had a division one prospect on his hand?

"I really thought he was going to do it last year. He really had some holes in his game that he needed to improve on. He did that and when he played our first game of the season I thought he had made those improvements. I thought it was something possible, we were just hoping that it was not to late."

Markiewicz, watched Lemon grow up and is very excited about the type of player he is sending to Syracuse. The Orange on paper look to be getting a solid receiver, but once he straps on those pads it will be all about Syracuse.

"They are getting a player that will give them 110 percent no matter where they need him. If they need him to return kicks he will do that, if they want him at cornerback he will do it, if they want him as a defensive back he will do it. Alec is all about the program they will enjoy coaching him at Syracuse."

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