Maye with Three in the Lead

Marcus Maye may be just starting to realize his potential. The 6-1, 195 pound defender from Melbourne's Holy Trinity Episcopal is already one of the state's top prospects at any position. A recent rise in his status among prospects has not made the prototype safety rest on his laurels. Instead, it has made him hunger to prove that not only does he belong, but he may be at the top.

According to Tracy Biggs, an assistant coach at Holy Trinity who doubles as mentor for Marcus Maye, Maye is starting to become a better player simply because of his desire to be the best he can possibly be. A natural born athlete with size and speed, Biggs says Maye has responded well to recent trips to combines and camps that have seen his star pupil win MVP awards and showcase his talent.

"One of the biggest changes for him right now is his hunger to get better," Biggs said of Maye. "His speed has gotten better and he has added weight too, but his whole mindset to be that premiere athlete has forced him to get better. Running track has helped him out tremendously. He is doing a lot of different things as far as his athletic ability."

Maye is certainly a standout at Holy Trinity, but one issue is that despite playing quality teams, the athletes that he lines up against on Friday nights do not match up to the physical strength and speed that Maye possesses.

At 195 pounds, Maye has clocked 10.9 seconds in the 100 meters and has taken his physical ability to the combines and camps over the spring that will allow him to measure up to other players with his own physical ability. Biggs says Maye loves the competition.

"Holy Trinity is 1-A private school," Biggs said. "We don't get a lot of four and five-star athletes to play against, but Marcus is a guy that wants to play against the best. So we said, ‘let's go and compete against some of the better division-one prospects out there'. He has had some success doing that and so he feels like he can play against the guys of that caliber."

The notoriety is growing and Maye is now helping lure college coaches from everywhere to campus. He already holds about 15 offers from all over the southeast, but more are sure to come.

"I have been through the process and played but for him it is ten-times different," Biggs said. "This spring we have been averaging eight to nine college coaches a week now, two or three a day. He has handled it pretty well and is a very humble kid."

These coaches are getting an eye full when on campus and Maye says it is usually the size that they notice first before they are drawn in by his athletic ability at that size.

"I'd say my size as a safety is eye catching," Maye said. "A lot of people mistake the first time when they see me for a linebacker. Once they see me run and they see I have great footwork and hips, they see that with the size and that is what catches their eyes the most."

But at safety, it takes more than speed, you have to have instincts. This is what has separated Maye from the other athletes at his position on the combine and camp tour. There are always athletes that can run fast and may have some size, but his ability to make plays on the ball sets him apart.

"I have an eye for the ball and back there I can make plays on the deep balls and can come up into the box and make tackles there or in the open field," he said. "Anywhere the ball is that is where you will find me. I definitely have an eye for the ball."

So far, Maye has visited five college programs and seen what they have to offer. He has seen Florida, Alabama, Florida State, Auburn, and Miami in person and wants to visit LSU and USC. He will visit Oregon for the NIKE ‘The Opening' camp in July.

A month or so ago, reports were out there that he was favoring the Florida Gators over the rest. At this time, he isn't ready to limit it quite like that.

"He is really excited about the recruiting process and doesn't like to make anyone feel like they aren't a possibility," Biggs said of his star pupil.

Maye says there are three that do stand out right now, but he is not limiting the possibilities at all.

"Florida is definitely one of the schools that I have felt very comfortable at, but I went up to Florida State and felt the same way up there," Maye said. "Florida, Florida State, and Alabama are in the main run."

The defending national champion Auburn Tigers got a visit from Maye and it sounds like they may just get a return visit to get a better look.

"I liked Auburn," Maye said. "It is a great school and campus. It is a typical college town and I like that a lot. I got to talk to Coach Chizik and Coach Thigpen. I liked it there and need to go back up there and see if I enjoy it more, but I did enjoy it there."

The Hurricanes of Miami were on him hard before a coaching change, but he hasn't seen as much of them since Al Golden was hired as the head coach.

"I was down there a whole lot when the old staff was there," said Maye who lives about two hours from Miami. "They had the coaching change and I went down there for the junior day. Other than that, I haven't really talked to Coach Golden. I like it down there and need to see how things change in Miami and how it goes."

One school he hasn't seen yet but it is on his ‘to do' list is LSU. Maye is somewhat enamored with a chance to play on the field like first round draft choice Patrick Peterson who was a star in the secondary and on special teams for the Tigers.

"They are a great defensive school and known for their defense," Maye said of LSU. I like the way they use Patrick Peterson. I liked how they played him at corner and punt return and so many ways. I can see myself the same way at LSU. I haven't talked much to the coaches there and haven't been there and have to do that. I definitely think I could play cornerback if I had to."

There is that summer camp at Oregon and if given the chance he will check out the Ducks and see what they have to offer.

"If we have time while we are at camp and after," he said of the University of Oregon. "I will definitely go check that out if I have the opportunity and the time."

Another school he hasn't visited, but is going to do what he can to get out and see them, is USC. The Trojans have piled up players in the NFL and have been alluring to prospects for the last several years.

"I watched them growing up when Reggie Bush was there," Maye said of USC. "They had their championship run. I like the school a lot. They just had the coaching change and I know they are on probation, but I want to check them out and see what is going on with USC."

His three favorites have something in common. All three coached together at LSU back in the early part of the last decade. Jimbo Fisher and Will Muschamp were coordinators for head coach Nick Saban. Now all three are head coaches vying for the same prospects. In this case, they are the three favorites for Maye.

"It's Alabama football. I have been up there twice," he said of the Crimson Tide. "I enjoy talking to Coach Saban. He is a defensive back coach, so that is a big plus being coached by Nick Saban, one of the biggest college football coaches.

"Alabama is one of the biggest powerhouses in the SEC. The opportunity to play on a big football team and on a big stage is something I want to do. The coaching staff, I like a lot as well."

Florida State has made their impression as well. It is an impression that doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.

"I have been up there five or six times," he said of the school in Tallahassee. "I am pretty comfortable up there. I know the campus and city very well and I know the coaching staff very well and we talk a lot. They just had a big recruiting class and I am excited to see how well they play out this year with everybody they got.

"The coaching staff is something that I really enjoy and we have a pretty good connection with everything. I talk to Coach Fisher a lot and we communicate pretty often. I also talk a lot with Coach Stoops. Coach Coley and Coach Buckley with the defensive staff, we communicate. Coach Trickett is probably the one I talk with most often and he came down last week. He is the recruiter here and we communicate a lot."

The Gators got on him early and had the early lead. They still have a lot of what he is looking for in a college football program.

"Florida is obviously one of the big name schools and in the state," he said. "I have always enjoyed watching Florida and the way they put people into the NFL. I like the way they play football and am excited to see how well they do this year. That will all factor into everything. I enjoy the coaching staff and having the opportunity to play in The Swamp is something I really want to do if I go there."

He has established relationships with a couple of Gators coaches along the way. A year ago D.J. Durkin was recruiting the area and now that has changed to Travaris Robinson. He likes both assistants a lot.

"I had a great relationship with Coach Durkin and as a sophomore he was the guy that started talking to me first," Maye said. "Also, talking to Coach Muschamp and Robinson the defensive back coach, he has come out and watched me. I also enjoy talking to them as well. Coach Robinson came over to the school to watch me practice last week.

The Gators say they have a lot to like about Maye, but it seems his leadership qualities are what stand out the most.

"They tell me they love my size and the way I communicate on the field," he said of the Florida staff. "I am an open guy and like to talk. When I am back there I direct things. I can make switches. They say they want a leader and someone that can communicate and also a person that can make plays on the ball. Pretty much everything they are looking for is everything I am looking for."

Like Saban at Alabama, he likes the fact that Will Muschamp will have a big part in the play of the secondary and understands the safety position quite well.

"Coach Muschamp having played safety is also a big thing," Maye said. "He has helped coach the defensive backs everywhere he has been. When the head coach is also the position coach, that is a big plus. You can prove to him that you can play and then you can play early.

"I want a place where I can play early and a job that I can work and prove to the coaches I can do it. At Florida there is a good chance of me doing that."

His leadership qualities evidently extend beyond the football field. Holy Trinity Episcopal is a tough school and he has to work hard to maintain grades while playing football. For Maye, his education is going to play big when he is ready to make his final choice for college.

"I want a place that I can see myself being very comfortable and a place where I won't have to worry for the next four or five years," Maye said. "I also want a place that can help me in different aspects of life after football. I want the education and have a job set up when I am done with football. I want my degree and a place that will set me up for the next 40-50 years and not just the place that will be great while I am there playing football. I want a place that has a good opportunity to have a good life on and off the football field."

There is a lot to weigh for a young man that has such a bright future. Maye says that he wants to make a decision before the season starts, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do that. If he doesn't make a decision on a school by September, then he will likely wait until after his season to do so, simply so he can concentrate on the season at hand.

Either way, we will be there to follow what he does.

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