Robert Lester's Coach One-on-One

Robert Lester,first team All-State defensive back from Foley High School was introduced to the game of football at the age of eight by his father. Eschewing television broadcasts of the game growing up has not hindered Lester's dream as he's earned a scholarship to play at The University of Alabama where the prime time lights of network cameras are prevalent.

Delivering ferocious licks jarring the ancestors of ball carriers, the 6-2, 205 pound tenacious defender's on the field deportment belies his off the field gentle nature. The versatile performer has been told by the Alabama coaching staff that he will play safety and audition for some snaps at the cornerback position.

Timed at 4.52 for the 40 yard dash while attending Alabama's summer camp in Tuscaloosa, Lester strives to improve his speed as he enters the realm known as the swiftest conference in the country.

Practicing against Julio Jones, his childhood friend, Foley High School teammate and number one prospect in the country, has furthered his development significantly the last three years.

His signature on a letter of intent pledging his future to the Crimson Tide is attributed to a fondness for the coaching staff and comfort level with the current players. Recruited by Alabama staff members Lance Thompson and Kirby Smart, Lester hastened his decision by committing early in October to insure his offer amongst an elite prospect class being filled faster than a New York City subway token receptacle.

His junior year weight training maximum lift marks include 260 pounds on the bench press, 280 pounds for the power clean and squats of 420 pounds. His 10 career interceptions represent the school record. Academically Lester has scored a 20 on the ACT test.

David Watson, Foley High School defensive backfield coach and brother of Head Football Coach, Todd Watson discussed his pupil.

What should people know about Robert Lester?

"He's just a great kid," Watson said. "He's great to be around, and he has a great personality. He's just fun to coach. He keeps the guys laughing and joking. He keeps the mood light, but at the same time when it's time to get serious he'll get serious and do what we ask him to do. I'll think he'll be a great asset for The University of Alabama."

What is his best asset as a defensive back?

"Robert Lester is a big physical player with great ball skills," Watson said. "He's just always around the ball and knows where the ball will be prior to the snap. When the ball is snapped he likes to make plays and runs to the football. That's what we ask him to do."

Does he make some defensive calls in the secondary for you?

"He does make some calls. Robert is versatile enough that we've moved him around. He's played some corner for us and free safety as well as what we call rover. He does make a lot of the checks and a lot of the calls for us from his safety position in the secondary. He's a pretty heady guy. He listens and pays attention in the film work and in practice," Watson said.

Does Robert like contact?

"He's a big guy and any time the ball is snapped he's running to the football. He likes contact and doesn't shy away from it. That's another thing that makes him a special player," he stated.

How has playing against his wide receiver teammate Julio Jones improved Robert's game?

"Obviously when you have the number one recruit in the nation lined up on the other side of the ball, you either get better or it's going to be a long day," Watson said. "Robert has enough intestinal fortitude about him that he's not going to get beat to many times without putting up a fight. I think it's made both of them better."

How does Robert respond to coaching?

"Robert picks up things pretty well. I usually have to tell him one time, and he's usually pretty good about picking things up," he added.

What type of leader is Robert?

"He likes to demonstrate through his actions. He tries to let that be the way he leads. But he will open up and say what he's thinking to get the other guys going when he has to. I don't think he will resort to that as his first choice, but he will vocalize if necessary. He is more of a leadership through example type of player," Watson said.

How has Robert developed through the years?

"I've been here since Robert was a sophomore," Watson said. "The way he's grown and developed from his sophomore to senior year has been exceptional. Not only has he grown in the weight room, but obviously he's grown in his athletic ability on the field."

"Things changed for him in the spring when he started getting attention from recruiters. The light was flipped on that he could play at the next level. He started practicing harder, preparing better and watching film. He asks questions and he's intuitive. He likes to know what's going on because he likes to be prepared on Friday night. His biggest asset is his work ethic and determination to play to the best of his ability. He is self motivated to be prepared to play the game."

What are some general impressions about Robert?

"The thing I am most impressed with is his warrior mentality," Watson said. "He's had some shoulder and ankle issues, but he's been able to push through pain and play for us. We have asked him to do so much this year. He is on every special team that we have. He said let me have the ball on kick-off returns and punt returns. He just wants to make a play and win."

Principal Kenneth Dinges who was a coach and administrator in the football rich state of Texas for 30 years before his appointment at Foley High School comments about Lester:

"Robert is a very articulate young man who has really developed into a good football player," he said. "He has worked on his strength and his speed over the years. He's gotten more aggressive as the years have gone by."

"I think he's become more secure in his position and more confident in his ability. He does a great job covering, running and meeting sweeps. He's just a great strong safety right now. He is as much of a leader of the team as Julio is for Foley. He's a good student and another good prospect."

"Thanks to Coach (Todd) Watson and his staff who have turned him into an outstanding citizen and person that has a future."

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