This morning I had breakfast with the Superintendent of schools in Wilcox County. As usual, things turned to sports, and we began discussing the circus that has been surrounding Nick Marshall. If you’ve ever been through Wilcox County, you would understand that nothing this exciting has happened since they crowned the Georgia Watermelon Queen back in 2006.
I say this to give you a glimpse at what it is like to be a small town kid being recruited by the “big boys” of college football. Last week, Paul Johnson was in Rochelle. He told Nick that he would get him a Heisman. We’ve paraded several members of our coaching staff to this rural South Georgia town over the past few months. So has FSU.
This kid is being offered the moon to come play football (and basketball). Rochelle, Georgia has one restaurant, a Subway, since Nell’s Fried Chicken closed down a few months ago. Life’s just different in little towns like Rochelle, and things are moving faster for the Marshall family than ever imagined.
Wilcox County sent a kid to play football for Nebraska two years ago. He’s now the starting CB. He still has to have his former defensive coach pick him up at the airport, make plane reservations, etc. That’s not something that he or his family know how to do. It is so much different than the life of a prize recruit within the 285 perimeter. A lot of these kids don’t have parents with any type of knowledge about this process. Many have never even set foot on a college campus. A lot of the coaches don’t even have the experience. So it’s tough for a 17-18 year old kid to make a decision of this magnitude. Just another one of the reasons UGA is so lucky is that we have a man like CMR helping to father these kids and help them with the decision making process. There are just a lot of unknowns.
The conversation was interesting this morning, and I really enjoyed the insight given to this particular situation. For a lot of these kids, this is by far the biggest and toughest decision they’ve ever made.
To wrap this up, if you’re in the mid-state this Friday evening, Wilcox County will be playing Hawkinsville in basketball- in Hawkinsville. Coaches Richt, Bobo, and McClendon will be in attendance. I’m sure some others will be too. This kid is as good on the hardwood as he is on grass. It would probably be worth the trip over. I hear there are a few good bbq restaurants in town.
UPDATE: Per request, I’ve been asked to give some info on Nick Marshall. Nick is listed as a 2-sport athlete (fb,bb) but I think he also plays baseball and runs track. Athletic QB, very mobile but likes to throw it. 6`2, 186. Junior in high school, rated 3 star by scout. May be better at b-ball than football. FSU has already said he can play both. May get the same offer from UGA (like we did with Fred until he realized that football was his sport.) On that, I have 2 thoughts. 1) I’m a firm believer that kids who play multiple sports (i.e. football and baseball or football and basketball, etc.) in high school are better recruits than those who focus on one sport year round as you see often times in baseball. 2) With the rigors of collegiate athletics and scholastics, I think it is very tough to play 2 sports. Some kids do it and excel, but it is really tough. My advice is to find the sport you want to go pro in and focus once you get to college. But if a kid wants to play 2 sports at the collegiate level, then all my blessings to him.