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September 30, 2008Ole Miss would dearly love to land Largo, Fla. three-star linebacker Mike Marry. So would almost 30 other schools - that is near the offer number that the coveted prospect has received.
That number of offers is most impressive, especially considering Marry didn't attend any camps over the summer and really hasn't marketed himself as do many prospects.
Marry didn't have to advertise himself much - his performance on and off the field speak volumes.
As a 160-pound sophomore, Marry notched 76 tackles. Since then, he's added 50 pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame and improved his 40-yard dash time from 4.7 to 4.6. In the classroom, he has a 3.7 GPA and has already scored 940 on his SAT. He followed his sophomore year with over 140 tackles last season as a junior.
"He's the total package," ten-year veteran Largo head coach Rick Rodriquez told RebelSports.net in a previous interview. "He's aggressive and the best linebacker that I've seen since I've been here. He's got football instincts that you can't teach. He brings academics as well as all round leadership. He's a hard worker and a leader. He leads by action, not words."
In numerous interviews since bursting onto the recruiting scene last spring, Marry has been quite about the recruiting process, insisting he's open to everyone recruiting him. About two weeks ago, he told Rivals.com that he hoped to reduce his offer sheet that hovers around 27 or so offers to a more manageable list of five or ten schools in the near future.
Perhaps it was former teammate Dexter McCluster's performance against Florida last Saturday in the Rebels' 31-30 upset of the Gators, but it was difficult for Marry to hide his excitement about Ole Miss.
"Ole Miss has always been my top team," Marry said on Tuesday said when asked if the Rebels would be in his top five or ten teams when he makes that decision.
However, it was almost as if his comment were a slip - he followed that with "Ole Miss will most likely be there."
Whether Ole Miss is at the top - or just among the top - probably is immaterial at this point, but one thing was clear - the Rebels made an impression with the win last Saturday in the Swamp.
"I was working and didn't get to see the game - just caught the highlights," Marry said. "It was crazy. I wasn't expecting that. Coach (Chris) Vaughn (the Rebels' recruiting coordinator who is recruiting Marry) told me last week that it was going to be a good game, but I didn't expect that."
Marry and McCluster and three years apart in age, and while Marry was just a freshman when McCluster was running for over 2,000 yards at Largo in 2005, the two have a relationship and Marry was particularly impressed with the Largo alumnus' play against the mighty Gators.
"That was really something to see Dex break those tackles and take it to the house against Florida," Marry said. "It made me feel real proud of him and our high school."
While most of the national television highlights focused on McCluster touchdown run, Jevan Snead throwing and running for a touchdown, Shay Hodge making catches, and Cordera Eason scoring, there were a couple of defensive highlights that caught Marry's attention.
That was "the stuff" off Gator quarterback Tim Tebow, being stopped short on a rushing attempt from fourth and one, and defensive end Kentrell Lockett's block of an extra point attempt.
"I saw that block, and I thought to myself - that could have been me out there doing that for Ole Miss," Marry said.
Marry was impressed, but insisted that the Rebels were already "one of his favorite teams" before the win and that a big part of that was his relationship with Vaughn.
"He's telling me that they are going to have a good year, and that they are going to have an outstanding recruiting class and that he wants me to me a part of it," Marry said.
Marry also said the Rebels are definitely in line for an official visit, but that he hasn't made any plans for any visits at this time.
Marry's Largo squad is off to a 3-0 start. He said he had approximately 20 total tackles in the first two games, but hasn't seen the stats from his most recent game last Friday.