Posted: 1:01 pm Thursday, January 24th, 2013
By Jeff Greer
Frustration found Ke’Tyrus Marks last fall.
He’d broken the single-season sacks record at Suncoast. He’d compiled an impressive highlight tape for recruiters. He’d gotten the grades and test scores to qualify for Division I football.
But no one seriously pursued him.
That’s all changed of late. Marks (6-foot-2, 275 pounds, No. 44 on the Big Board) is no longer an under-the-radar prospect just hoping for some recruiting love. Arkansas, FAU, FIU, Massachusetts, Wake Forest and Western Kentucky are frequent visitors on Suncoast’s Riviera Beach campus. He’s had coaches in his house multiple times the past few weeks.
“Everything’s different now,” Marks said last week. “It’s been crazy, but this is what I wanted.”
This is nothing new to Palm Beach County, a recruiting hotbed full of college football prospects. The final months leading up to national signing day always yield some late surprises, like Royal Palm Beach’s Teddy Matthews to Wake Forest or Palm Beach Central’s Gabe Terry to Miami last year. This year’s no different, with several big-name local players finally hearing from FBS schools.
Marks, American Heritage quarterback Marcus Davis and Seminole Ridge running back Silas Spearman, whose talents have been well-known to area football fans, have all become hot prospects for big-time programs in the recruiting cycle’s waning days, as our day-by-day Recruiting Diary shows.
Marks plans to visit Arkansas this weekend. The Razorbacks have been all over him since mid-December, when Charlie Partridge left Wisconsin to continue as an assistant coach for Bret Bielema, who took the Arkansas job on Dec. 4. Partridge didn’t have an available scholarship for another defensive linemen when he was at Wisconsin. He has some room at Arkansas.
Bielema and Partridge visited Marks and his mother at Suncoast on Wednesday, and Bielema made a lasting impression. If all goes well this weekend, Marks appears likely to sign with Arkansas, though Wake Forest and recruiting coordinator Ray McCartney are making a late, strong charge at Marks after offering him a scholarship during an in-home visit with his family on Wednesday night.
Meanwhile at American Heritage, Davis has become the final intriguing piece of a talented 2013 class of Stallions. Teammates Greg Bryant (Notre Dame), Roderick Johnson (Florida), Tyler Provo (Syracuse), Jake Giordano (Miami, Ohio), Darrion Richardson (Southern Methodist), Xavier Swinton (Miami, Ohio) and Evan Harvey (Lehigh) are all off the board. Davis, who was heavily pursued last year by West Virginia, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Cincinnati and several others, is the last toy in the garage.
Arkansas wants Davis (5-10, 170, No. 9 on the Big Board) to play cornerback. Defensive backs coach Taver Johnson might as well sleep in his car outside American Heritage — he’s frequently visited Davis in the new year. Davis plans to visit Arkansas on Feb. 1, and picked up an offer from the Razorbacks, too.
Wake Forest is still in the picture. McCartney planned to visit with Davis this week. But another new suitor entered the picture yesterday. Auburn came to American Heritage, sat down with Davis and verbally offered him a scholarship. Now the Heritage senior, who threw for 1.019 yards and ran for 846 this past season, plans to visit Auburn’s campus this weekend.
USF and Boston College are the big names out in Loxahatchee these days, as both schools chase Seminole Ridge’s Spearman. He ran for 1,258 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior, breaking onto the scene as a dynamic 5-9, 190-pound athlete with good vision and a combination of power and speed. He was primarily a defensive back before his senior year, and his early high school grades weren’t too hot, which is why he didn’t attract as much attention as fellow seniors Kyle Shortridge (Louisville), Rayfield Dixon (Minnesota), Jason Shepherd (Bowling Green) and Omar Pierre-Louis (Bowling Green).
Don Brown was the only FBS recruiter chasing Spearman for a while, hoping to snap him up for Connecticut, but BC lured Brown away, hiring him to be new coach Steve Addazio’s defensive coordinator. That changed Spearman’s most likely FBS destination from Storrs, Conn., to Chesnut Hill, Mass. BC hosted Spearman for an on-campus official visit this past weekend, but hasn’t offered a scholarship yet. New BC head coach Steve Addazio won’t offer Spearman a scholarship until he’s cleared by the BC admissions office.
Now BC appears to have some competition on the FBS level. South Florida sent assistant coaches Larry Scott and Nick Sheridan visited Spearman at Seminole Ridge on Tuesday. The goal of the meeting? Getting to know the prospect before returning to Tampa to discuss a potential Spearman scholarship offer with new head coach Willie Taggart. A source close to Spearman’s recruiting process said USF is approaching things just like BC, taking its time.