06/11/13 — Princeton's Puckett headed to Greensboro College

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Princeton's Puckett headed to Greensboro College

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on June 11, 2013 1:47 PM

All Leith Puckett needed was a little encouragement once new head football coach Derrick Minor arrived on the Princeton campus last summer.

A much-needed affirmation soon followed.

"Whenever coach Minor showed up in the summer, we started working out and he was saying I could go play college football," Puckett said. "That's what made me start showing up 15 minutes early for workouts and working harder. Our last coach really didn't do anything like that."

Puckett heeded Minor's words and through a commitment to the weight room, he developed into a center that played a pivotal role on the Bulldogs' offensive line last fall.

Now, he's headed to the next level.

After an official visit and meeting with the Greensboro College coaching staff, Puckett became sold on the NCAA Division III program and signed with the Pride. Plus, he gets to spend four more seasons with Bulldog teammate Dakota Smith.

Puckett also considered N.C. Wesleyan.

"I just like the coaches and I like the program, also," Puckett said. "The coaches talked to me about a lot of different things. I just like the school and it made me want to go there. I want to play in college with (Smith). I've always wanted to. I know he'll keep me on top of things."

The 6-foot-2, 285-pound Puckett anchored an offensive line that allowed Bulldogs' sophomore tailback Johnny Frasier to rush for 1,792 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Frasier averaged 7.83 yards per carry and he eclipsed the 100-yard mark in 12 of Princeton's 14 games a year ago.

Puckett also blocked for Bulldogs' quarterback Michael Wooten, who threw for 1,153 yards and four touchdowns. Princeton reached the eastern regional championship of the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A state playoffs last season and averaged 29.5 points in its four postseason games.

"Your offensive line is your core and that's the heart of your team," Minor said. "It gives you the flexibility to have freedom within your offense when you know that you can trust those guys and not have to worry about if we change anything up it's going to confuse anybody.

"It gives you confidence as a coach to do more with those guys."

Greensboro College finished 5-5 last season with a 3-4 mark in USA South Conference play. The Pride open the 2013 season against Guilford College on Sept. 7.

Puckett plans to major in physical education with a minor in health science.