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Leesburg's Singleton In League Of His Own
SPORTS - All-Lake County football team
December 20, 1992|By Joe Williams, Of The Sentinel Staff
LEESBURG — The No. 1 that Oran Singleton wore on his Leesburg High School football jersey was
more than a way fans could identify him, it was an attitude.
Not a cocky one, but a confident one.
Most of all, it was an appropriate one.
Oran Singleton was No. 1 on the field, No. 1 among the state's rushing leaders, and No. 1 in the
hearts of the Leesburg football fans.
''Without a doubt, there is no one close that I have ever seen in high school to Oran Singleton,''
Leesburg coach Ed Hoffman said. ''Not with all the ability he has. He's good, he's tough, he has great
''He is just a good all around back. I think he is by far the best back in Florida, barring none.''
Singleton's season and career will help to rewrite the Florida Football Record Book. If there was a
Leesburg Football Record Book, a chapter would have to be dedicated to him.
Singleton, The Lake Sentinel's offensive player of the year for the second consecutive season, finished
the season as the state's rushing leader with 2,360 yards and 28 touchdowns. That concluded his
three-year career with 5,104 yards and 62 touchdowns. Singleton is sixth on the state's all-time
Although he appears well behind the career leader, Emmitt Smith, who rushed for 8,804 yards for
Pensacola Escambia, Smith benefitted from some extra games. He played varsity as a freshman,
Singleton didn't. Plus, Smith had the benefit of playing for back-to-back state champions. All total,
Smith played what amounted to at least 18 more games than Singleton did.
''I think no one really understands that,'' Hoffman said. ''I think if people realize what Oran did in three
years, plus if they recognize his coach was a jerk and took him out after he reached 200 yards in a
game, they would get a feel for how talented he really is.''
The only down side to Singleton's brilliant season was the way it ended, with him on crutches on the
sideline and with the Yellow Jackets losing to Seabreeze, 24-10, in the Class AAAA, Section 2 playoff
Although he always has been small (5 feet 6, 150 pounds), Singleton avoided serious injury until that
last game when he was tripped after taking a short snap out of punt formation and sustained torn
ligaments in his knee.
He has since had surgery to repair the ligaments and is making good progress in rehabilitation. How
much effect the injury will have on his football future is unknown.
''Up until the last game, it was a great season,'' Singleton said. ''We had a lot of seniors returning. We
knew that we were going to play good and that is what we did.''
The injury is about the only way anybody stopped Singleton during the last two seasons. Only three
times during that span was he held under 100 yards. Twice last season when Seminole and
Edgewater both limited him to 90 yards and against Seabreeze, when he had 89 yards on eight carries
before sustaining the injury midway through the second quarter.
By contrast, he had 11 games in the past two years where he rushed for more than 200 yards.
''His quickness (4.45-second speed in the 40) is definitely a great attribute,'' Hoffman said. ''But I don't
think it is his biggest asset. I think that is his ability to see the hole open up and if the hole isn't there, to
go somewhere else, is his biggest asset.''
What is amazing about Singleton's season is that he went into it a marked man.
''I think they knew they had to stop him but, you look at his yards, and they tried to do it, but they never
did,'' Hoffman said. ''All Land O' Lakes talked about was how they were going to stop Oran and he had
237 yards in the first half against them.''
Singleton, whose best game of his career was a 275 yard night against Ocala Vanguard in 1991,
could have possibly bettered that performance against Land O' Lakes. But, with the game well in hand
by halftime, Singleton carried the ball only twice in the second half and finished with 247 yards.
Hoffman was a little concerned that teams were going to target Singleton so he decided to diversify the
offense some last summer. The idea was to take the load off Singleton, try to get him the ball in some
But, after the third game of the season, Hoffman decided to return to the power game that Leesburg
had been successful with last season.
Singleton had a season and a career that won't soon be matched. No. 1 will be No. 1 for a long time.