Mission Viejo sleeper has elite talent

Mission Viejo (Calif.) has one of the top defenses in the state and one player who doesn't get a lot of mention but who has had a big senior season is defensive lineman Garrett Marino.

Very few players out west have made a bigger jump since their junior season than Garrett Marino. A year ago, Marino was a 220 pound linebacker and a part tine player. Fast forward a year later, and Marino is a rock solid 6-2, 255 pound rush end who might be the strongest player in the state.

His Diablo teammates claim Marino can bench over 500 pounds although the athlete claims his max is closer to 450 and his 185 pound rep max is over 40. Marino isn't just incredibly strong, he's quick and very explosive off the edge. He can beat a tackle off the snap and shows great closing speed as well.

Marino lines up all over the defensive line for Mission Viejo and will move inside as well. He also sees time at fullback and is a very good short yardage blocker and a solid runner when given the opportunity as well.

Earlier in the year, the Diablos rolled over an always strong Redlands East Valley (Calif.) team and Marino was the best player on the field that night. He had five sacks, caused two fumbles and was about as close to unblockable as you'll see at the high school level.

Against El Toro last Friday, it was more of the same for Marino. He had a pair of sacks, caused a fumble and several hits on Charger quarterback Conner Manning. With the kind of season he's having, and you can make an argument that Marino has been the state's best defensive end this season, you would think he would have scholarship offers flooding in but that's not the case.

"I'm really only hearing from Div II schools right now," Marino said. "I camped with Arizona State over the summer and got DL MVP at their camp but things have been pretty quiet for me. I really think I can play at the next level and it has always been a dream of mine so hopefully schools will take notice."

Marino struggled a bit early on academically but is making progress and is hopeful of being a full qualifier. He has already taken the SAT and plans to take it again. The Diablos are expected to make a deep playoff run and Marino should have plenty of opportunity to showcase his talent on a big stage.

Below are senior highlights of Marino.

Greg Biggins has been covering recruiting for over 15 years, covering the West since the mid-1990's and currently serves as a national analyst for Scout.com/FOXSportsNext.
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