If you watch game film from Dutch Fork’s run to the Class 4A, Division I state championship this past year, No. 7 always seems to be around the ball on defense. Play after play, No. 7 appears on the screen, either making the tackle or being there in case someone misses.
Lane Ecton is No. 7. Despite his sensational play for three years on the Silver Foxes varsity, he’s flown a little under the radar as far as college recruiting goes. Some speculate it’s because he’s undersized, but he has one ally in his coach, Tom Knotts.
“He does have the size and speed,” Knotts said. “I don’t know what he’s missing. I think a lot of colleges are missing on him. He has great highlight film, great game play. He’s the perfect size for a safety in college. I really don’t understand. ”
Ecton has heard the whispers about his size (5-foot-11, 190 pounds).
“It’s not fun to have people overlook you because of height or whatever,” Ecton said. “It doesn’t bother me too much on the field. If I make plays, then people notice. The right people have noticed, I feel like.”
The right people at Georgia Southern did. Ecton committed to them this summer and feels like he’s proven himself over the past three years.
“Most teams saw 5-11 at safety and didn’t like it too much,” he said. “I may be undersized, but I feel I fit in with the best of them. I’m thankful Georgia Southern is giving me the opportunity to show it. Recruiting was a great process. They’ve shown me love since day one. It’s always felt right. The first visit was great and all the coaches were great. I’m just glad I can focus on my senior season.”
Georgia Southern this season makes the jump from FCS to FBS. Ecton wanted to play at the highest level, and this will give him an opportunity to compete against elite players every week.
Knotts said he is fine with his star’s commitment to Georgia Southern, but he thinks with another good season, some bigger schools will come calling.
Ecton runs a 4.5 in the 40. The numbers he’s put up for three years shows how much he’s around the ball. He made 102 tackles as a sophomore and 107 as a junior.
“We saw Lane had an instinct for the ball as a ninth-grader,” Knotts said. “We brought him up in the ninth grade, and he’s been a starter ever since. He was the region defensive MVP last year.”
The Dutch Fork defense improved in the playoffs after struggling during the regular season. It was capped by a performance in the state championship game when Dutch Fork limited Sumter to 15 total yards in the 54-14 route.
“We rotated a lot of guys in and out, and most of us have been playing together now since the seventh grade,” he said. “We should be better than last year. I think we have a chance to do what we did in the playoffs every week this year.”