Fields has a different focus

Alabama extended three offers on Friday, to prospects in three different states. Each are four-star juniors, but one of them is thinking well-ahead of most prospects at this stage of their career. Lean more about cornerback talent Mark Fields inside.

5-foot-11, 180 pounds.

Solid size for a cornerback, especially one that has another year of high school football remaining.

But Mark Fields, while also playing running back and handling returning duties for Cornelius (N.C.) Hough High, isn't just focused on the his senior season of high school ball.

"Yeah, Mark is a special player," Jamelle Byrd, Hough defensive coordinator, said. "While most kids are training to be the best in high school and college, he's training for the NFL.

"That's the type of mentality the kid has."

While the goal is lofty, there is precedent in the bloodline, which also fuels a secondary goal for Scout's 18th-ranked cornerback talent in the country.

"His dad is Mark Fields Sr., the linebacker that played for Panthers, Rams and Saints," he continued. "He was diagnosed with cancer that cut his career short.

The SEC has come calling for this four-star from the Charlotte area.

"He's got a great gene pool he inherited, so I'm sure that has something to do with why he is good, but the kid also is extremely hard-working. He tells people all the time, 'my dad was drafted 13th overall (in the First Round of the 1995 NFL Draft by New Orleans), so I've got to be drafted 12th or better.'"

The ambition is met by the physical talent Fields displayed in all three phases of the game for a 10-win team in 2013, though most colleges peg him just as Scout does - as a cornerback. His latest offer came from Nick Saban's program on Friday.

"'Bama just offered," Byrd said. "He definitely has interest in 'Bama, we were there last July. He was upset he left without a offer...

"But i'ts very likely 'Bama could be where he ends up because Mark wants to go to the NFL, plain and simple. And the kid actually has the talent to do it."

Alabama isn't the only SEC program to get in on the All-state selection, who collected a trio of interceptions as a junior to go along with 34 tackles and three punt returns brought back for scores. A pair of additional programs from the conference along with one closer to home have emerged as early favorites for Fields' services in addition to the Crimson Tide.

"Clemson, South Carolina and Tennessee," said the coach. "And LSU, if they offer.

"He likes 'Bama because he knows they put guys in the NFL."

It all reverts back to his skill-set, one that Byrd says is sometimes an overwhelming advantage against fellow high school opponents.

"Yeah, it's unfair to average wide receivers when we play press coverage, he just destroys kids," he said laughing. "Also, how many high school cornerbacks do you know that are benching 365 pounds?

"Kid is a freak of nature. He just works and works, always training."

Fields, already committed to play in the 2015 U.S. Army All-American game, will make his public commitment at the nationally-televised event in January.

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