Lane Ecton once enjoyed playing offense, but never missed having the football in his hands once he arrived at Dutch Fork High.
“I was a wildcat guy, a running quarterback in middle school, and I had a ton of fun with that, but I’ve always preferred playing defense,” he said. “Basically, I love hitting people, initiating contact.”
Ecton, a four-year varsity regular, helped Dutch Fork put Midlands football on the statewide radar by going 46-12, playing in three straight Class 4A Division I championship games, and winning the school’s first state title in 2013.
Ecton is The State’s Defensive Player of the Year in the Midlands.
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“Lane was a part-time starter for us as a freshman, and became a standout over the next three seasons,” Dutch Fork coach Tom Knotts said.
“He showed us what he could do as a freshman, and the coaching staff asked more and more from him from that point on. He has the speed and size you look for in a safety or a spur guy.
“He has legitimate 4.5 speed in the 40, but it’s his commitment to preparation that sets him apart. He not only know his assignments, he knows all the assignments on defense. He wasn’t only a playmaker for us, he was our leader, our quarterback on defense.”
Ecton was also a master kick blocker, said Knotts, with at least 10 blocks during his career.
“At first, I thought defense was all about finding the ball and going to it,” Ecton said. “Once I started to apply myself to the mental part of the game, began to understand the reasoning behind the assignments, I became a better, more confident player.”
Knotts is mystified that Ecton did not elicit much love during the recruiting season after his outstanding junior season.
“You can’t tell me he doesn’t have the speed or skills to play safety in, say, the ACC,” Knotts said. “I have no idea why he got so little serious interest after his big junior season.”
Ecton committed early (in July) to the only FBS program that made a serious pitch – Georgia Southern.
“Georgia Southern was the first school that reached out to me personally, and I made a connection with the coaches right away,” Ecton said. “There was no reason for me to wait around and see what else might happen. I’m happy with my decision.”
He was selected to play in the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.