Kelee Ringo is a five-star cornerback, maybe the best in the country at that position, a transcendent, maybe once-in-a-generation athlete.
But until the last few weeks, Ringo was on a part of the football field no offense wanted to go to, feeling disconnected.
A cornerback that no quarterback wanted to throw toward. An athlete aching to show what makes him special.
That’s all changed, due to a foot injury to tailback Israel Benjamin during the second week of the season.
With Benjamin unable to play since the first half of the Cathedral Catholic game in San Diego — Saguaro’s only loss — Ringo has been called upon on offense to help with the running game.
On his first carry in a 49-6 rout of Las Vegas Faith Lutheran, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Ringo took the ball from quarterback Tyler Beverett and dashed 65 yards for a touchdown.
He ran the ball only one other time, but it was enough to show that Saguaro’s offense won’t be without a run game, while Benjamin is on the mend.
In a 55-9 rout of Scottsdale Desert Mountain last week, Ringo ran three times for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
He scored two touchdowns Friday against Chaparral, and would have had a third had he not been called for taunting.
“Kelee is one of the best high school players I’ve probably ever seen,” Chaparral coach Brent Barnes said prior to the game. “They shouldn’t be allowed to touch the ball. He’s a gifted player. He’s one you won’t see for another decade.”
Since coming to Saguaro from Washington state in the summer before his sophomore year, Ringo has transformed into such a lockdown force at cornerback that it’s hard for him to get a lot of stats — because nobody will throw his direction.
With Benjamin week-to-week, coach Jason Mohns is going to need help from Ringo and linebacker/H-back Will Shaffer to carry the running load.
“When you have a kid that is a 10.4 (second) 100-meter guy who is 200 pounds, and has some experience …,” Mohns said.
This isn’t Ringo’s first taste of running the ball.