A UF/UT Battle for Walls

We have seen it over the course of history; the colossal battles that take place in the sporting world. Whether it's Ali/Frazier, Bird/Magic or Tiger/Phil, we as sports fans love to watch as the drama unfolds before us. A similar situation is developing for linebacker Marlon Walls.

Imagine you are a 16-year-old football player entering your senior season of high school, and in one corner you have Coach Urban Meyer/Charlie Strong and in the other corner you have Coach Phil Fulmer/Trooper Taylor.

Marlon Walls is a fantastic looking linebacker prospect from Memphis (Tenn.) Wooddale High School. At 6-4, 217-pounds, he runs in the 4.5 range. He has the ability to play both the run and pass at a extremely high level.

"We run a 4-2-5, basically I play inside but when teams try to go four wide on us I move outside and cover a wide receiver," Walls said. "The strengths of my game are my speed, aggressiveness and ability to cover wide receivers. I am listed as a 4.5 guy, but I know I am faster than that. The last time I ran the 40 was last summer and I am much faster now. I ran track this year so that has helped me a bunch. I ran the open on the 4x400 and the 4x200."

Walls has offers from Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Louisville and Memphis but has narrowed it down to Florida and Tennessee.

"It is definitely going to be a Florida/Tennessee battle," Walls said. "I talk to Coach Urban Meyer all the time. I talk to Coach Phil Fulmer all the time. I talk to Coach Charlie Strong all the time. I talk to Coach Trooper Taylor all the time. I am trying to narrow this thing down anyway and make a decision before the season starts. I do not want the pressure of recruiting on me all the time and I want to focus on my senior season and grades. I want to make my decision before the season starts. I have narrowed it down to those two schools. I always have Florida and Tennessee on my mind no matter what is going on around me. I am going to Friday Night Lights and then in the first week in August, I am going to Tennessee and after that, I will sit down with my parents and make the choice."

Friday Night Lights will be Walls' first trip to Gainesville, and he is hoping that the best linebackers in the nation show up.

"I am hoping some of the best linebackers in the nation will attend because I am ready to measure myself against the best in the country," he said. "When I go against great players, it makes me work that much harder to be the best."

Even though he has never been to Gainesville, Walls was able to catch just about every Gator game last season on TV. He knows how young the linebackers are and thinks he could play early. Coach Strong agrees.

"He told me that if I were to come to UF it would be up to me, but I would definitely get playing time my first year and as far as starting goes that would be all up to me," Walls said. "Florida and Tennessee have always been my two dream schools growing up. I have imagined myself playing for both schools and I cannot wait to get to Friday Night Lights in Gainesville and see the campus and check out the facilities and The Swamp."

If you are thinking about how much pressure Walls will face from the hometown team, you are not alone.

"There is so much pressure for me to stay in state and not go away to school," he said. "Most of the folks around here want me to stay in-state because they are all Tennessee fans but the decision that I will make will be the best one for me, period. If it was up to them it would be a no brainer. It would be the Vols, but it is not up to them. It's up to me and I will make the best decision possible for me. Wherever God leads me to. My dad wants me to go to Ole Miss so he can come to all the games, but I had to rule him out. My mom does not favor one over the other. She wants me to put it all in God's hands."

Walls finished his junior season with 55 tackles and 13 sacks.

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