In February 2007, there is a good chance that Opelika wide receiver Marquez Strickland will be doing the same thing. A 6-2, 195-pounder with excellent speed, Strickland is already receiving attention from major college programs although he just finished his junior season.
"I have been getting letters from Auburn, Clemson, Alabama, Southern Miss and Mississippi State," Strickland says. "Right now, as a junior, I am concerned about taking care of my grades and then coming back and having a good senior season and seeing where that takes me. I took the ACT and I am waiting on the score to see where it is at."
McCracken says he believes that the speedy wideout will be a guy colleges like as a senior. Strickland's play in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Junior All-Star Game indicates that the coach is correct.
"We had a lot of fun," Strickland says of the all-star week on the Troy University campus. "I got a chance to meet a lot of new people and become friends with them. I will never forget that game. It gave me a chance to see where I am at as far as my talent is concerned and it will help me to be a better person.
"The game itself was a lot of fun," adds Strickland, who had one catch for 36 yards for the South All-Stars, who won the contest 16-7 in a defensive struggle. "There was a little rivalry there with the north vs. south, but it was all good, clean fun. There was a lot of good sportsmanship in the game."
The defenses held the upper hand, which is not surprising considering there was a short time to work on installing an offense. "I think we only had about eight or 10 plays and most of those were pass plays," Strickland says. "Good players adjust to different circumstances. That is the way I look at it."
Earlier this month, Opelika High senior Zach Clayton, a defensive end for the Bulldogs, signed a scholarship to play for Auburn and his teammate, quarterback Jonathan Chandler, signed with Division I-A Troy. Strickland looks to have the talent to be a major college signee, too.