Throughout early to mid-December Kansas Pregame contacted 8-Man football coaches in an effort to name the third annual Top 8 team of seniors for both divisions of 8-Man football in Kansas. After an overwhelming response from coaches, and once all the votes were tallied, 16 players were selected.
This is the fifth of 16 individual player profiles highlighting the Top 8 selections in each division and released in no particular order. Look for more in the coming days.
Seth LeClair, G/DE, 6-3, 225, Clifton-Clyde
Seth LeClair was among the top players in the state over his four seasons at Clifton-Clyde, helping the Eagles to a 30-7 record over that span, anchoring veteran coach Russ Steinbrock’s offensive and defensive lines.
As a freshman LeClair spent most of his time on varsity at guard, leading the way for a Clifton-Clyde team that went 9-1 and averaged 53.6 points per game. The Eagles advanced to the second round of the playoffs where they loss to Wichita County in a 54-38 shootout.
“Seth played an integral part in our success over the last four years,” head coach Russ Steinbrock said. “As an incoming freshman we knew he had a lot of potential with his size, strength, and speed. Offensively we have played him at the guard position. His quick feet, size, and strength make him a great pulling guard. For a big man he also has great athleticism which allowed us to play him at some tight end and in the back field this year.”
LeClair played all four years as a guard for Steinbrock, but in his second season on varsity earned a starting spot on defense and truly stepped into his own.
“His presence has been felt the most on the defensive side of the ball,” Steinbrock said. “Over the last few seasons he has been one of our top defenders and he has been able to lock down one side of the field forcing opposing offenses to run away from him.”
LeClair became a terror for offensive play callers as a sophomore, recording 73 tackles and two sacks as a devastating rush end. The Eagles finished the season with a 7-2 record and fell 46-26 in a second round playoff exit against eventual state champs Little River, a team CC beat in a 42-36 overtime thriller in Week 2 of the 2020 season.
During his junior campaign teams began to understand the benefit of running away from LeClair, dropping his total tackles to 51. The Eagles again finished 7-2 but allowed offenses more than 14 points just twice during the 2021 season, and again advanced to the second round of the playoffs before getting eliminated by eventual semifinalists, and 2019 state champs, Canton-Galva.
As a senior, LeClair saw his tackle total decrease once more as opposing coaches created new methods to isolate the standout defender, though his 48 tackles, five sacks, one fumble recovery, and punt block still made for an excellent stat line.
Clifton-Clyde finished 7-2 for a third straight season after a first-round playoff upset, 28-22, to a sneaky-good Quinter team. In LeClair’s final game, the opposing coach held tight to the prevailing theme.
“I ran away from him 90% of the game and when he was on offense he was one the most physical kids, if not the most, with great footwork and played until the whistle every snap,” Quinter head coach Cody Corwin said.
Clifton-Clyde’s winning percentage of 81% over the past four seasons has much to do with the standard of excellence LeClair helped to perpetuate both on and off the field.
“Seth has been a great role model in the weight room for our underclassmen,” Steinbrock said. “Seth has always been a player of few words. He is a student of the game and was always willing to help get his teammates in a position to be successful.”
At 6-3, 225 pounds with a 4.9 40 time, LeClair was simply too much for opponents in most cases, and his talents aren’t missed by college programs. He currently holds a scholarship offer from Bethel and has garnered interest from Butler, Emporia State, and Kansas State, among others, but he remains undecided as to his future plans.
Whatever those plans, it will include a stop in the Kansas Eight-Man Football Association All-Star game in Beloit this summer.