Robert Leff is a player who anchored the left side of the line for the Fairhope High School Pirates and Coach David Faulkner said he has a chance to be special.
"Robert is an outstanding player," Faulkner said. "It's hard to coach 6-6, 275. He has some physical gifts. He's another one of those seniors who has tremendous leadership and wants the ball run behind him. He's got great work ethic. I could go on and on about him."
The death of his father had a major impact on Leff and took him away from the game, something that slowed his development in football, but Faulkner has seen a change in his big tackle in the last 12 months. Physical and wanting to be a force on the offensive line, Leff established himself as one of the best players on the field every time Fairhope lined up during the 2011 season.
"He had played when he was younger, and then his dad passed away," Coach Faulkner said. "I think that took his spirit to play a little bit. He came back at the end of his ninth grade year going into his 10th grade year and wanted to play again. I think it was the right thing for him, and he's getting everything he deserves now.
"He's getting better, and better and better," the coach added. "On the next level he's going to need some time in the weight room so he can get a little more pop at the point of attack in the run game.
"He's going to be a fabulous pass protector," Faulkner said. "He's got great feet, moves real well. He'll just continue to get better, and I think his best football is still ahead of him."
One person who is a definite believer in Leff is his Fairhope teammate, Kyron Samuels. A participant in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Game and a player with Division I offers, Samuels said Leff amazed him at how quickly he's turned his game into top shape after being away for so long.
"That's my guy right there," Samuels said. "We've grown up together. It's kind of crazy, his story. He didn't play football for about six or seven years because his dad passed away. He was a coach. Robert kind of lost it, but his sophomore year he came back, and his sophomore year until now it's amazing how well he's progressed as a football player. That guy has a heart of a lion."