FREEPORT, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — More and more athletes are specializing in sports, or they specialize in one position within a sport. None of that applies to Freeport senior Dedric Macon. He is a true all-around athlete in every sense.

We bring you his story in the Benchmark Exteriors Spotlight segment. Every time you look up during a Freeport game, you see number seven on the field. Whether it’s at receiver, cornerback or returning kicks. Dedric Macon also sometimes passes the ball. He was a quarterback in eighth grade.

“Really he can play any position on the field,” said Freeport head coach Anthony Dedmond. “He’s also talked about playing center. When our guard went down, he said, ‘I can play guard,’ and I believe it because he has that drive to him.”

About the only time Macon comes off the field is to get a quick drink of water.

Does he ever tell coach Dedmond that he’s gassed and could use a break?

“No,” said Macon. “They always taught us if you want to be a Dawg, you’ve got to play both sides of the ball. So, I think that’s just where it came from. I wanted to be a Dawg.”

Opposing teams now avoid kicking the ball to Macon after he returned a few to the house the last couple years. It’s much more difficult to keep the ball away from him when he lines up at receiver. Macon says defenses will make their best attempt at that though.

“Last week, Auburn put a safety on top. The week before Belvidere put a linebacker in front and stacked the safety behind him.”

“They’ve (Freeport opponents) got to make sure they account for him where he is,” said Dedmond. “They’re going to play him high-low. They’re going to have a safety over the top of him. He’s never going to man-up.”

In Freeport’s opening game against Belvidere North, Macon lined up outside in the red zone one-on-one with one of the best cornerbacks in the NIC-10 Nico Bertolino. Macon won that battle for the touchdown.

Dedmond says Macon’s work ethic is just as impressive as his athletic ability is.

“He comes in daily to work. He’s a guy that he’s here early, and after games he’s sweeping up the locker room before we leave out. That’s the honest to God’s truth.”

Macon not only excels in football he also was a first-team All-Conference last season in basketball. He exploded for 42 points in one game against Jefferson. That’s the second highest single-game total in Freeport history.

We’ve seen these types of achievements before at Freeport on the football field and the basketball court from another Macon. Dedric’s father Demetric was a standout in both sports before graduating in 1996. In basketball, he is the second leading scorer in Freeport history. Now he’s often in the stands watching his son play.

“It’s very enjoyable,” said the elder Macon. “I love seeing it. I love seeing him carry out doing what he, he’s blessed. He’s better than me.”

Dedmond says the entire Macon family is athletically gifted.

“If you see “Macon” on the back, you know you have an athlete regardless of if it’s him or his sisters or brothers or whatever.”

Dedric’s older brother Demetric Junior was also a great Freeport athlete. Sadly, he died suddenly two years ago leaving a hole in the Macon family.

“It hurt pretty bad,” said Dedric Macon. “It happened the day of a basketball game, so that was tough. Days just go on. They just go on.”

A year from now, Macon hopes to be playing football at the college level.

“I’ve got offers from Miami of Ohio, South Dakota, and right now I’m talking to Iowa.”

“He is a true example of what we’ve tried to build since I’ve got here,” said Dedmond. “Being an outstanding athlete, but an even better person. He is consistently growing, consistently getting better.”

NOTE: Freeport opponents will breathe easier next year when Dedric has graduated and moved on, but not too easy. He has a younger brother who’s currently a freshman.