There was a time when Ohio State was known as “Defensive Back University”, or “DB U” for short. Those times are on their way out.
Urban Meyer has transformed Ohio State from a pass-coverage machine into a pass-rushing monster.
This week, we’re taking a look at this collective monster and profiling some of it’s most feared members. Today, we take a look at Jamal Marcus.
Out of Durham, North Carolina, many people thought Jamal Marcus would end up a TarHeel, a Blue Devil, or even a part of the Wolfpack. There were a couple of weeks left before signing day, and Marcus hadn’t made up his mind. Wolverines, Trojans, Ducks, Buckeyes, and Irish fans were waiting with baited breath for Marcus to make up his mind.
Two weeks before the big day, Marcus shocked many and chose to join Urban Meyer and the 2012 Ohio State recruiting class.
Buckeyes, while surprised, were certainly pleased to have Jamal on board.
Coming out of Hillside High School in Durham, Marcus was a 3-star prospect as an outside linebacker. He was ranked as the 15th player in the state of North Carolina and the 32nd best outside linebacker in the nation.
At 6’2, 230 pounds, Marcus showed incredible athleticism in addition to his good size, running a 4.6 40-yard dash. It wasn’t only his combine numbers that impressed, however. Marcus’ senior year was special.
As a senior, Marcus had 89 tackles and 17.5 sacks while leading Hillside to a 16-0 season and a North Carolina Class 4A State Championship. After his outstanding campaign, Marcus was voted first team all-state by the AP and had the most votes of any defensive player on the team.
Originally, Coach Meyer sought out Marcus as a linebacker. A position he knew he lacked depth in, Urban Meyer viewed Marcus as a legitimate prospect for the outside linebacker position going into his sophomore year. A closer look at Marcus and his specialized skill-set proved Meyer’s original thought process wrong.
Marcus showed his prowess as a pass-rusher in high school with his crazy sack numbers, and that continued well into his first year at Ohio State. It was easy to see that Jamal was primed and ready for the defensive end position; a position in which he could showcase his uncanny ability to get in the backfield.
This spring, Marcus was finally moved from the linebacker position to the defensive end position as a “LEO”. Essentially, a “LEO” is a defensive end who drops into pass coverage more often than a normal defensive end. With Marcus’ pass-rushing and coverage abilities, the LEO position is well-suited for him.
Many Buckeye fans and analysts are praising Meyer for the move and expecting Marcus’ to make a much bigger impact this season.
As a freshman, Marcus wasn’t featured on the field, but made his presence felt. In six games for the Buckeyes, Marcus had eight tackles, including two against the Penn State Nitanny Lions in Happy Valley.
Jamal Marcus could be a huge player for the Buckeyes this season. Flying under-the-radar, thanks to his lack of playing-time a year ago, prepare for Marcus to boom within the first couple of weeks. The new position is going to do wonders for Marcus, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes one of the most valuable players on the 2013 team.
Even if he doesn’t bust out of the gate, you’re going to be seeing a lot more of #34 this season. Of that, I am very sure.
Jamal Marcus Senior Highlights:
Jamal Marcus Sophomore Highlights:
Ndamukong Suh Working With Jamal Marcus at “The Opening”:
Jamal Marcus Ohio State Commitment: