Fuquay linebacker makes big impact despite modest size

FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WNCN) – Fuquay-Varina senior linebacker Austin Pluckhorn isn’t the biggest player on the field but is often the one with the biggest impact.

“I am not going to let my size deteriorate what I can bring to this game,” said Pluckhorn.

What he brings to the game of football is incredible passion.

“He’s the last of a dying breed,” said Fuquay-Varina head football coach Jeb Hall.

Pluckhorn is the perfect linebacker – if he were playing in the 1940s, that is.

“If it meant that I would have to give blood, sweat and tears, I will do that,” said Pluckhorn.

If only he were bigger.  Pluckhorn is 5-foot-11 and weighs 205 pounds.

That’s about four inches too short and 30 pounds lighter than the ideal linebacker for college.

“Obviously, I wish I were the prototypical linebacker that was 6 foot 2 and 240 pounds,” said Pluckhorn.

If that were the case, college coaches would be flocking to Fuquay-Varina.

“They see the measurables,” lamented Hall. “But the one thing they don’t have a tool on or a way to measure is the desire and passion and the heart.”

Pluckhorn is a four year starter for the Bengals, which rarely happens at a 4A school.

He averages close to 10 tackles a game and has been his team’s leading tackler the past three seasons.

Pluckhorn was an all-conference selection his sophomore and junior campaigns and is almost certain to repeat this season.

Many wonder how he can make all those tackles given his physical limitations.

“At the start of the play I’ll be where the ball is before it even gets there,” bragged Pluckhorn.

How does he know this?

“I’m constantly watching film,” admitted Pluckhorn. “Every day I watch two, three hours.”

Having the correct attitude helps as well.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog,” said Pluckhorn.

One things for sure, the Bengals tackling machine has all the cliches down pat.

“If you need something done I will get it done no matter what,” said Pluckhorn.

“David and Goliath, you put me up against Goliath and I will still get it done,” Pluckhorn said.

Fuquay-Varina plays Northwest Guilford on Friday in the second round of the state 4-AA football playoffs. Every game from here on out, could be Pluckhorn’s last.

“I don’t know if you can fill those shoes,” said Hall.

There’s no doubt many could physically fill his shoes. Good luck when it comes to matching the heart and desire.

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