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Marcellus Earlington caught the attention of schools as a tight end, but as his junior season unfolded and his offer list grew, the focus moved to defense.
Now at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds, the Don Bosco standout is staring at a bunch of offers, some future visits and plenty of options.
As schools delve deeper into recruiting Earlington, most are talking to him about defensive end, but Rutgers, Penn State and Syracuse are bringing up playing both sides of the ball.
However, Earlington has a preference for which side he wants to play on.
"It is most likely defense," he said. "I like rushing the quarterback. I feel like it's more fun. I played it every year I played football, and I got used to playing defense."
There is plenty of time for positioning to work itself out, so for now he is visiting schools and getting a feel for campuses, coaching staffs and the culture of the program.
And during his visit to Penn State, all three boxes were checked.
"The coaches were very cool," Earlington said. "The town is around the campus. You can ask any student, they are always happy. They love Penn State, so do the players. I saw a workout. They were getting after it. The coaches really push their players. I love that about Penn State, too."
Earlington also spent plenty of time with coach James Franklin.
"He's a really cool guy, a great coach," Earlington said. "He made me feel like I was a part of the team when they put me a meeting room. He made me feel welcome right away. He's going to tell it to you about how it is in college football. He gives it to you real. He's all around a great coach."
Earlington took a Jan. 14 visit to Syracuse, and the trip was built around a basketball game against Boston College.
"I saw the facilities, all the meeting rooms and we got to speak to the coaches separately," Earlington said. "I loved the coaches. They were really nice to me, and my mom went there, so she knows a lot about the school. She showed me around, too, so anything the coaches didn't tell me, she told me. I like the meeting rooms.
"I like how they are starting something new, starting something big up there. They have a lot of good players coming in."
The last time Earlington was at Rutgers was for a game against Michigan in November, but he remains in constant contact with the coaching staff and is planning a visit for a spring practice.
"They're telling me they need me, that they need New Jersey players to stay," Earlington said. "They are telling me I could be the start of something special. They are in contact all the time. I talk to (defensive line) coach (Shane) Burnham and coach (Chris) Ash a lot, probably once every couple of days. They talk to me on a daily basis, so that is good."
When Earlington visited for the game against Michigan, it resulted in a blowout loss for the Scarlet Knights. However, Earlington said it has no bearing on his decision.
"It doesn't matter," he said. "Whatever school I fall in love with, whatever school I think has my style of play and the coaches really trust me and believe in me and I feel comfortable in that system, that's where I'm going to go. It doesn't matter what the record is. I'm going to do what's best for me on the field and academically. I think every school has a chance."
When it comes to future visits, two he wants to make are to Georgia and North Carolina. And there is a connection between the schools.
Earlington was offered at North Carolina by defensive line coach Tray Scott, who recently was hired by Georgia for the same position. And once he got to Athens, Scott offered Earlington.
"UNC, it as my second offer, and I love North Carolina basketball," Earlington said. "I was a North Carolina basketball fan and my mom was kind of mad because she was a Syracuse fan. I've heard good stuff about North Carolina so I want to get down there."
And while tripping to North Carolina, Earlington plans to go a bit further south to see Georgia and Scott.
"We built a connection since he was at North Carolina," Earlington said. "He loved me and offered me at Georgia, which is unbelievable and unexpected. He's built a good relationship with me and my family, and he talks to me a lot. I feel comfortable with him."
Meanwhile, his next visit will likely be to Ohio State, which is yet to offer but showing a lot of interest.
"I'm in contact with the coaches there," Earlington said. "They said they really like my game and my tape. I've been in touch with (defensive coordinator) coach (Greg) Schiano and (coach) Urban Meyer has texted me a few times."