Coach's Corner: Bob Marken, Buena Vista

Inside, Buena Vista football coach Bob Marken talks about CU verbal commit Nate Solder, one of the first Buffalo prospects Dan Hawkins visited after the recruiting dead period ended in early January.

Nate Solder verbally committed to play at Colorado right after the Thanksgiving holiday. He is among the most highly recruited players in the crop of CU verbal commits, turning down offers from CSU, Dartmouth, Iowa State, Kansas State Nebraska and Wyoming to play for the Buffs.

He starred on a Buena Vista team that played in the 2005 state 2A championship game, where BVHS lost to Holy Family.

Marken had this to say about Solder:

BSN: What kind of player has Nate been for you the last few years?
Bob Marken:
He's been an outstanding player. He's a 6-8/6-9 kid who weighs 245 pounds, and he's played tight end and middle linebacker for us. We moved him from defensive end to middle linebacker just so teams couldn't run away from him. He did an outstanding job for us there, as well.

As a person, he's probably the most humble athlete I've ever coached. That's a real positive quality that he has. He's an outstanding student — like a 3.9 student.

BSN: Has he been one of those kids that's always been bigger than everyone else?
Marken:
Yeah.

BSN: And yet he's stayed humble through it all?
Marken:
Yeah. Very much so. To the point where a lot of his teammates hardly even knew he was being recruited during the season. I think he had seven schools offer him early, and nobody on the team knew that unless I let them know.

BSN: So he played middle linebacker. I didn't realize that.
Marken:
Right. As a sophomore, he started for us at defensive end. He has a brother who is similar size, and they were bookends at defensive end. Then his brother graduated and we were just concerned that people were going to run away from Nate at end so we decided to experiment and put him at middle linebacker. Actually, two years in a row, he was named the outstanding linebacker in our league.

BSN: That must've been a sight to see – him running around out there at linebacker.
Marken:
It was. And he can run.

BSN: That's what I was going to ask. A lot of times kids that are that far ahead physically don't run that well. But he moves pretty well?
Marken:
He moves real well. I would say that's one of the reasons he was highly recruited – not only is he a big-bodied kid, but he runs really well. One coach told me when he turned on the film and saw him running somebody down 50 yards down the field, it immediately got his attention.

BSN: Do you get the sense that Colorado wants him as a tight end, or that they may want to turn him into an offensive tackle?
Marken:
Most coaches at most places have said they're excited and willing to give him a chance to play tight end, but they believe if that doesn't work, he'll be a really outstanding offensive tackle. That transition happens at a lot of levels — whether it be the high school to college level, or college to pro level — where a tight end becomes a really good offensive tackle.

BSN: How are his hands?
Marken:
He was the second leading receiver on our team, and had, I think, over 500 yards receiving this year. He has pretty good hands. He plays center on our basketball team and catches the entry pass real well.

BSN: He was recruited by Gary Barnett and his staff. Do you know if he's connected well with Dan Hawkins and the new staff?
Marken:
Yes. Really, I think the only coach that he spent much time with was Coach Hawkins. Coach Hawkins immediately came up here the first recruiting day after the dead period. I think (Nate) felt really good about that. And I believe he's met with the tight ends coach once. He really did like Coach Hawkins, and I did as well. I'm really happy with him and was impressed with the things he says.

We had fun with him and the fact that he grew up in a small town in northern California. So he really identified with our setting, and some of those things


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