Marrow knows new running back pledge is special

Published 5:00 pm Friday, May 10, 2024

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His college offers included national champion Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee, Penn State, Notre Dame, USC and many, many more but four-star running back Marquise Davis surprised many when he verbally committed to the University of Kentucky.

The 6-2, 206-pound Davis had been perceived by many to be a likely commit to national champion Michigan but Kentucky recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow worked his Ohio magic again with the Cleveland star.

“I really was not surprised that he picked Kentucky,” said Cleveland Heights High School coach Mac Stephens. “I knew from way back that he was more than likely going to play in the SEC or Big Ten. Kentucky checked all the boxes for him and Vince is a phenomenal recruiter. Kentucky also does some things in the run game that really appealed to him.”

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“I have known Vince for a few years now. He is a phenomenal guy and has a big personality.  Vince has recruited other kids here, but I could tell there was a different level of interest in Marquise. Even Vince recognizes Marquise is so much better than even what we saw last year. I think you are going to see even a better version of him next season. He’s bigger, faster and strong as an ox.”

Davis is ranked as the nation’s No. 106 recruit by and 165 by 247Sports. Davis had a remarkable junior season when he was named the Gatorade Ohio Football Player of the Year. He ran for 2,405 yards and 34 touchdowns and on defense had 91 tackles and three interceptions, including one for a touchdown. The linebacker also had three forced fumbles.nCleveland Heights won the Greater Cleveland Conference and reached the OHSAA Division I regional semifinals.

Stephens said it was “pretty unusual” for a junior to be named the Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year but also felt his star player should have won several awards that went to seniors.

“Here is the thing that a lot of people don’t realize. He was first team all-star at strong safety as a sophomore. Not many 10th-graders make first team all-state in Ohio. Then last year everything was on offense,” Stephens said. “He is scary on both sides of the ball. He will keep playing outside linebacker and running back.”

Davis has been timed in 4.42 seconds in the 40-yard dash and ran the 100 in 10.83 seconds during the outdoor track season. He also had the third fastest time in Ohio in the 60 during the indoor track season.

“His times are phenomenal for a high school kid at that size,” Stephens said.

That’s one reason Stephens said Davis is “just scratching the surface” of what he can do.

“He still has a lot to learn. He was just basically relying on his athletic ability last season. He will have a better understanding of reading our blocking schemes and how opposing teams line up which will help him gain more yards.”

Stephens can still remember when Davis joined the team midway of the summer before his sophomore season.

“We put him on defense. We were doing 7-on-7 drills and he had four interceptions in the first 30 minutes,” the Cleveland Heights coach said. “I thought, ‘This kid is a hell of a defensive player.’ Eventually we put him on offense and then could see flashes even as a 10th grader of what he could do. You could always tell he was special. He just had a different work ethic and has things most kids don’t have.

“He is going to hurt you if you try to tackle him one-on-one. Very rarely does one person take him down. Over two years the refs blew the whistle maybe 20 times with four or five players hanging on him.”

Stephens called him the “most humble teenager I have ever been around” on and off the field. He has a weighted 3.90 grade-point average. He has spoken to youth football groups and volunteered as a youth coach.

“He wants to put together a free youth camp for young kids and came up with that idea on his own,” Stephens said. “That shows the type of young man he is. He leads by example. He doesn’t say much. His facial expression hardly ever changes. He’s not arrogant and just goes about his business. He’s just a special player and a special young man.”