MARSHALL, Texas - Marshall is never short on talent and one of the biggest names on the roster this year is senior safety Lyrik Rawls.
"Lyrik's a natural born leader," head coach Jake Griedl says. "He had an incredible offseason. He's put on 15 pounds. He looks ever bit like a big time safety. He's going to end up playing on Sunday's if he keeps his head right."
Before that can happen, Rawls, who holds several D-I offers, says he's eager to get back on the field with his teammates especially after watching schools in lower classifications suit up on Friday nights.
"It was hard. We would go watch the games and we would be ready to play... I woke up [today] ready to do it. We've been waiting for a long time. I'm ready to get to it," Rawls explains.
Fellow senior JT McFarland says he's happy to start practice after an uncertain summer.
"It's good to be on the field again getting an opportunity to play football," he says. "I mean it wasn't guaranteed, but we have the opportunity to play again."
Griedl adds waiting was a challenge, but is thankful to see the UIL's plan start to pay off.
"I know with splitting 1A through 4As, the 5As and 6As were kind of worried if we would get the shot or not, but because those coaches have been diligent, we're fortunate enough to be out here and have our turn at it."
A September practice start date is unusual, but there are some positives with the added bonus of new turf.
"Yeah, Hellas did an outstanding job on the field and our kids are feeling the benefit of that... it's probably 20-25 degrees cooler than it was last year," Griedl says. "Our feet are thanking us right now and I know our kids are happy for that, too."
As the team gets ready for their season opener, Rawls says he will play on both sides of the ball for the Mavericks in their Week 1 matchup at New Caney September 25.
"It's going to be live. We're going to be ready," Rawls exclaims.
Griedl says of his team's prep, "Our defense is excited to have him back there. I think every position we have out there right now is pretty talented and we're just excited to hit somebody else other than us."