Now it looks like the athlete he blocks for, starting quarterback and defensive back Marquies Lane, has joined his road-grader in choosing the UI over other offers.
Lane is slasher of sorts for the Wolves, playing multiple positions for Class 6A Deltona. The Florida school has historically struggled on the football field, but expectations are big for the team, aided largely by Lane and Smith.
Last week Deltona picked up a big win to start the season, thumping Trinity Prep 49-17 in the opener. Lane was nominated for Player of the Week honors for his performance under center, which included throwing for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns and running for another. The win moved Deltona to a ranking of 17th in the Central Florida Top 20.
And to think QB isn't necessarily the best position he projects to at the next level.
FOOTBALL RUNS IN THE BLOOD. Marquies, pronounced Mar-Qweace, is known more commonly to his friends as Mookie. How did he get the nickname? Well, for starters he comes from a football family.
"When I was 10 or 11 I played football," Lane to GoVandals.net. "Everyone kept getting me and my brother’s names mixed up [standout older brothers Marlin and Marquion], and they kept calling us all different names. So one day my coach just started calling me Mookie and it stuck.”
The versatile athlete isn't just a one sport star either. One of the league leaders in assists (last year he was the runaway assist leader with 273, a 9.4 average), he starts on a solid Wolves basketball team and could have an eye on the hoop.
But football is where he is getting the most college attention of late. The list of suitors include offers from Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky, Indiana State, UTSA, NCCU, Florida A&M, and interest from West Virginia, Oregon, and Oregon State.
Aggressive recruiting on the part of Idaho defensive line coach Kenny Holmes is what sealed the deal for UI. “Through everything, coach Holmes came down to our spring practice and they offered me. They emailed me, called me, called my coach, and they offered me. They were the school that showed the most interest in me so I decided to stick with them.”
An athlete that line up in almost any specialist position on the field, Lane is being pegged as a defensive back for the Vandals.
“I haven’t really talked to the offensive coaches," Lane told GoVandals.net, "but I talked to the defensive backs coach. He’s pretty excited to come see me play. Coach Holmes said if they need me at receiver to be ready to go to receiver – I’m an athlete and can play both sides of the ball.”
Lane split time starting on each side of the ball last year; a 3-7 season for Deltona, with two of those wins coming over rivals at the end of the season, hence the positive outlook for this season. Defensively last year in the first five games (before switching to QB), Lane logged over 50 tackles and a pick.
So what is it that drives him the most about playing defensive back? “Opportunities," Lane said without hesitating. "Some quarterbacks like to pick on you, and that’s an opportunity to make a name for yourself.”
We'll keep tabs on Mookie this fall and provide updates as the season progresses.