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Marquis On The Mark
Highly-rated Texas prep Prospect Set To See His Name In Lights At Norman

Five years ago, Michael Jinks had some hard convincing to do when a young Marquis Anderson walked into his coaching office as an eighth-grader believing he was the next Adrian Peterson or Antonio Gates.

At the time, Anderson would have even settled for being the next Malcolm Brown, a good friend who at the time was the starting tailback for Jinks’ Steele junior high squad in Cibolo, Texas.

At 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Anderson considered himself a skilled athlete wrapped in a lineman’s body. Jinks knew better.
Over the course of his coaching career, Steele’s skipper had seen his share of dominant defensive linemen, including former Sooner Tommie Harris.

When Jinks looked at Anderson, he had visions of Harris.

“In eighth grade, when Marquis sat in my office and I told his mom who he reminded me of, I knew how good he could be,” said Jinks. “I had to convince his mom that he wasn’t a fullback. He was 6-3, 240, and she was telling me how he was the best running back — that he was a better running back than Malcolm Brown. But they listened to me, and look where he’s ended up.”

Exactly where Anderson has ended up is near the top of the D-I defensive prospect list in the state of Texas. Now 6-3 and 280, Anderson no longer envisions himself gliding through holes and looking for open running lanes. Instead, he’s the run-stopper skilled at punishing anyone who dares come his way.

“Anderson may not be a 300-pound defensive tackle prospect, but he is a physical and strong player in the trenches,” said one recruiting analyst. “On paper, he lacks ideal bulk and will need to add some size to help him some, but overall, he has a good frame to grow into and on film looks to have a nice wingspan for his build.
He also comes across as a pretty thickly built kid, and while under 270 pounds, he in no way comes across as a skinny defensive lineman.”

While Anderson may defend the run like Harris, the former two-time Sooner All-American — his pass rushing skills are even more impressive.

“As a pass rusher, he can bull-rush his way back and will try and work to the shoulder to come off the block but needs to be careful to not take the whole man and get caught up,” said the analyst.
“Needs to work to use those weapons more to swat blockers’ hands down. Anderson can use some more bulk, but he is a strong and physical kid who can take on blocks and be productive.”

Anderson is currently ranked as the No. 8 tackle in the nation and No. 92 overall by Rivals. Despite drawing double-team blocking, he finished the 2010 regular season with 42 tackles and three sacks.

Even though he doesn’t have the size of some of the other defensive tackles in his recruiting class, Anderson has been highly sought after.

After racking up 35 tackles, 6.5 sacks and a forced fumble his junior season, Anderson got scholarship offers from Baylor, TCU, Arizona, Houston, Rice, Texas and Texas A&M. But Anderson spurned them all and verbally committed to Oklahoma back in May.

The decision came after he and his family took a trip to Norman during the spring.

“I went up there for the spring game,” Anderson told Rivals.com. “It was my third time up there, so I just looked around a little more and I watched the spring game and watched everybody play. I talked with Coach (Jackie ) Shipp and everybody, and they were just telling me more about the school and asked what I wanted to know or if I had any questions or anything.”

After weighing his options and narrowing his choices to Oklahoma and Texas Christian University, Anderson was ready to announce his plans.

“It was really Oklahoma and TCU and then everybody else,” said Anderson. “TCU was what was holding me back from my decision, but I think OU is just a better place for me.”

Along with Kendal Thompson and Brandon Williams, Anderson will be on a list of at least three commitments who are expected to enroll at OU for the upcoming spring semester.

“I’m pretty excited,” said Anderson. “It’s the best fit for me. The schools I went to, most of them felt like they were reading a script, telling me what I wanted to hear. It just didn’t feel right. When I went to OU, you could tell they were real with me.”

Along with TCU, every major school in the Lone Star state has been hot on the heels of Anderson, hoping to keep him at home. But as the Sooners have a way of doing with so many Texas recruits, they were able to show Anderson that Norman is where he belongs.

Meanwhile, Anderson’s friend and teammate, Malcolm Brown, did decide to make Texas his home.
When it became evident that Brown was going to UT, many figured Anderson might follow.
Obviously, that was not the case.

The fact that Anderson committed to Oklahoma instead of the Longhorns didn’t come as a big surprise to his coach.

“Marquis is a country boy,” said Jinks. “Austin wasn’t his cup of tea. He just felt more comfortable with Norman.”

While Anderson and Brown may be enemies next season, Jinks said both of them helped lead Steele deep into the playoffs this year. Going into the second weekend of December, the Knights were set to play in the quarterfinals of the Class 5A Division 2 Texas State Championships.

“They both kind of committed in their junior year,” said Jinks. “But it has been enjoyable. Both those guy are leaders, not only on the football team but in the community. As a coach, they allow me to coach them. I coach those kids no different than anyone else on our football team. And they respond. It’s not so much what they do. It’s what they don’t do. I don’t have to pull them aside. They don’t need any special treatment.

“They understand that when you work hard, you grind and do things the right way, the attention will come. It’s been a blessing.”

Anderson has a chance to come in right away and potentially earn some playing time as a freshman. Stoops has shown again this season that he is not afraid to play underclassmen if they can produce.

But Anderson also knows there are areas he must improve upon if that is to happen.

“My weakest part right now is my legs. You play with your legs, so you’ve got to get them strong,” Anderson told Rivals.com.
The one part of his game that will not change is his enthusiasm.

“I think he is a unique player with his size and strength,” added Jinks. “He has a motor that doesn’t quit. He understands leverage and getting off blocks. You can teach those things, but it works a whole lot better when somebody can do it naturally and you just have to fine-tune it. He is one of the rare breeds, a special type of player.”

(Editor's Note: This story appears in the 2010 Bowl Preview Issue of Sooner Spectator. To read more or subscribe, call toll free 1-877-841-8877)