BYU offers another Cali junior college DT

The Cougars are searching to fill spots on the defensive line for next season once their seniors graduate. They just offered one California junior college defensive tackle in Tutulupeata Mataele, and have now found another in a 6-foot-3-inch, 310-pound Pierce Junior College sophomore, whom they offered on Thursday.

His name is Marquel Combs, and he has a long list of colleges that he's received offers from. Among the schools that have offered him are Mississippi, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Kansas State, Oregon State, Syracuse, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Texas Tech.

"I'm just really blessed and have received around 25 scholarship offers right now," Combs said. "I hope by the time I leave [junior] college that I'll have around 30."

What makes Combs' lists of offers even more amazing is that the young man, originally from Hamilton High School in Memphis, didn't even play football until his senior year of high school.

"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to come out of high school and have the chance to play football," Combs said. "I just feel really fortunate to be one of those kids that didn't play football until his senior year in high school. That's when I started playing ball to just to keep off the streets and keep his head on positive."

Apparently he has indeed kept his head on straight, judging by his latest offer. On Thursday, BYU joined the large list of schools that have extended an offer, according to Combs.

"BYU is a pretty strict school," he said. "It's really strict and I know that I wouldn't get in any trouble down there and all that. I'm really excited about the BYU offer."

Currently, Combs is already committed to a football program, though it is a soft commit.

"I'm just waiting right now and I'm committed to Ole Miss, but I'm still open," he said. "That's what I told BYU and other schools. I told them that I want them to recruit me hard and I still want you to recruit me because you never know what can happen and it's not a race but a marathon. I'm a soft commit right now and I'm still open. BYU told me, ‘I'm still proud to recruit you and I'm going to recruit you hard.'"

With so many scholarship offers already on the table, why is Combs excited about the offer from BYU?

"One reason why I'm so happy with the BYU offer is because a school like that recognizes me and has offered me not just based on my football abilities," Combs said. "They've recognized my character off the field and have taken that part of who I am in consideration as part of their evaluation of me. That tells me that I must be doing some things correct and I must be doing something right to have a school like that offer me. If they find out you have a bad background they won't offer you, but are just interested, but to have a school like that offer you shows that I'm doing everything correct and not [just] football. It's a good compliment as far as my character."

Off the field, Combs said he looks to do what's right.

"I'm just the kind of guy that is laid back and chill off the field," Combs said. "I like to go to the beach and have a cookout with my friends and just try to be a good guy. Like I said, don't judge me on my past but who've I've become now, and what I'm doing now is I've changed my life all the way around."

The BYU coaches do indeed appear to like who Combs is now.

"We've been talking for months now," said Combs about BYU's staff. "We ended up talking and he said, ‘Hey I'm going to offer you.' I just told him, ‘Thank you so much' and he said, ‘To come from where you came from to where you are now, that's a big accomplishment.' It kind of ended like that and it was good."

Combs was informed of the high code of conduct at BYU.

"They were telling me about all the rules and stipulations they have there," said Combs. "I told them that I'm just taking it all into consideration and will talk to my coaches and family about it. I'm just glad I got offered by BYU and that shows that my character issues have improved from what they were in the past."

The BYU staff, of course, has also taken an interest in his play out on the football field.

"For one, I'm aggressive, and that's the most important thing of all," Combs said. "I have the mindset of wanting to be the best and dominate the person in front of you. I have an alter ego. When I put on my football helmet I step into my alter ego. I have good quickness off the ball and quick hand placement and that's really how you can dominate any person in front of you."

Combs tries to learn from numerous prominent NFL players and add pieces of their game into his own.

"I study a lot of film and I play my game like Haloti Ngata, Warren Sapp, Ndamukong Suh, Kevin Williams and Shaun Rogers," said Combs. "I pattern my game after those guys and take bits and pieces. Like, Ndamukong Suh teaches me to have a whole different level of aggression. Warren Sapp teaches me how to move and how to finesse. Haloti Ngata teaches me how to use the mental part and how you can dominate somebody in a one-on-one basis. With Shaun Rogers, it takes two to guard him. There are just different things I like in all of those guys and try to adapt them into my own game."

In the meantime, Combs hasn't narrowed down his list and is taking a thorough look at the schools that have offered him.

"I'm still planning on taking trips and will talk it over with my coaches," Combs said. "I'm looking for a school that is going to make me feel like part of the family. I'm looking for playing time and will make me feel at home. I want to go to a school that's going to make me feel like I want to be here for the rest of my life. That's really it.

"I'm always looking into things that catch my eye. Of course I want to play in the NFL [and that] is one of my next goals when it comes to Division I schools. There's a few things I'm looking into but I want to go to a place where I feel comfortable. That's what I'm looking for."

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