One of the best athletes we saw at the camps and the clinics around the Pacific Northwest was a lanky powerful QB from Ranier Beach High School in Seattle. He stood out as an underclassmen and seemed a man among boys. We waited and watched for news of him in 2010 but as the season went along none could be found.
Then right at the seasons end we happened to be covering a playoff game at Thurston High School and we spotted a kid that caught our eye. We asked around and were not sure who he was but he sure looked great on and off the field. There was something familiar about him.
This past week we found out that the kid we saw at Thurston was the same standout kid from Ranier Beach we had been looking for. It was now 6'5", 218 pound Marquis Jackson.
Jackson is 1/2 African American and 1/2 Samoan and reminds us so much of Noa Aluesi of Jefferson. He has a rocket for an arm and he makes good throws but just needs some time to develop.
But how in the world and why had he ended up in Springfield, Oregon famous more for The Simpsons then for football.
"The bottom line is that up in Seattle trouble found me. It was everywhere I was and I made some bad choices. So last year my Mom sent me here to live with my Uncle Saul Patu and his Family. He is showing me the right way to go forward in life and providing me some structure. And I am so thankful to be here," offered Jackson who is a terrific kid.
The trouble was severe enough that to stay in Seattle was going to mean not being safe and not being in a position to succeed. Uncle Saul is 100% Samoan. A former Oregon Duck and man of discipline he has Marquis on the right track.
Jackson says he could go home or stay and finish his Senior year with the Colts and play for Coach Justin Starck who loves to throw the ball.
"Right now I am gaining strength and really starting to get into the flow of our offense. I think I can succeed here," said Jackson.
Starck calls it like he sees it.
"Marquis is a terrific athlete. He always was. And for the first time he is in a structured weight room and strength program. He was benching about 150 when he got here and now he is over 225. His squat is getting up there as are all his other numbers. He has a D-1 Body and a tremendous vertical with the springs and skills he has developed on the basketball court," said Starck.
Coach feels that as Marquis fills out he will become a powerhouse D'End but that QB is not out of the question. He has been attending the Barton Camps and is getting better.
"I feel I can play QB. I am not going to be brought down by 1 player. I can see the field and run and I think my main skill is that I am a playmaker. I like to make things happen."
He knows he made some mistakes but says he is paying his dues. He attended school all of last Summer to get his grades up and speaks proudly of the 3.4 GPA he has regained.
"I think I am on my way and I want to help the team win and succeed. Whatever happens from here on out I am ready for. It is so great to be in a position to succeed," he added.
He will not be on the OregonPreps.com Top 100 because we just do not have much on his efforts from last year. But we will and we believe that Marquis Jackson will be into the upper middle of the pack as the season rolls out.
We also believe that Jackson is a guy colleges will want to look hard at. He has one of the biggest most athletic frames we have seen anywhere this pre-season and seems to be back on the road to collegiate recruitment.
Something he had veered away from but now has made a course correction!