Speedy Receiver Gets Scholarship Offer

Talented receiving prospect Marquez Strickland talks about getting his first offer and Opelika's march in the playoffs.

Opelika, Ala.--It took longer than expected but Opelika receiver Marquez Strickland finally has received his first Division I scholarship offer and he says it's a relief to know he's gotten that out of the way.

A 6-0, 195 speedster who has had an All-State type of year for the Bulldogs, Strickland says that when he got the news he was elated.

"I was just offered a scholarship by UAB this Saturday," Strickland tells Inside The Auburn Tigers. "It's real exciting. It's good to know that a lot of these schools are taking an interest in you and that they want you. I'm really going to take that into consideration. UAB is a really good school. I went to camp down there. I showed off my skills some and talked to Coach Watson Brown. We had a real good conversation then, they got my highlight tape and liked it, and called me and said they were offering me a scholarship."

UAB isn't the only college showing Strickland more interest. Despite getting a commitment from Huntsville's Quindarius Carr recently Auburn may still be looking for another playmaker at the receiver position. Strickland says he's hearing more from the Tigers and that's exciting as well.

"I went to the game when they played Georgia and I got a chance to talk to Coach Greg Knox (Auburn receivers coach)," Strickland says. "He came to the school not too long ago and we talked. They signed a lot of receivers last year so I know they don't have much room. I am interested in them a lot. I have been going to (Auburn) games since I was in the 10th grade. I like the atmosphere there. It's a real good school and program."

Strickland is a physical runner after the catch to go along with game breaking speed.

Strickland knows all about playing for a real good program because he's spent his high school years under the tutelage of Spence McCracken at Opelika. One of the state's most respected coaches, McCracken has the Bulldogs once again in the hunt for a 6A state championship this season. Friday they take on Sidney Lanier at historic Crampton Bowl in Montgomery and Strickland says that should be a lot of fun.

"It's real exciting," the receiver says. "They are a good team. They are a good defensive team. We're going to have to play our best game.

"They like to stick eight and nine in the box and play man with their defensive backs. We're going to try to take advantage of it. The coaches have been pushing me this week about my timing in my routes and taking it the distance because we're going to have to win the battle. As a receiving corps if we win the battle that could determine the outcome of the game."

Helping the Bulldogs to an 11-1 record and a berth in the Class 6A quarterfinals, Strickland has been a dominating force for Opelika at receiver. On a team that relies first on the ground game with tailback Joseph Wilson putting up good numbers, Strickland has 34 receptions for 734 yards and 11 receiving touchdowns. Also a threat to run a reverse because of his speed, Strickland has 11 carries for 247 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.

Last week Opelika survived a stern test from Murphy of Mobile in the second round of the playoffs after falling behind early in the contest before pulling away for the win. Strickland says it's games like those that teach a team about life and that's something McCracken stresses to them every day.

"Our coach talks to us all the time about overcoming adversity," the wide receiver says. "He tells us something bad is going to happen in every game and it depends on the team that handles it the best. The past couple of games we've handled it the best and it has worked out for us."


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