The biggest battle for Marquelo Suel might wind up being between a college's position coaches.
After all, the 6-2 ½, 178-pound standout from Ft. Wayne Harding's state championship squad is an explosive playmaker at wide receiver on offense, and he's a big hitting safety on the defensive side as well.
"He has tremendous acceleration, tremendous speed, great jumping ability, great hands and he's very physical," said Ft. Wayne Harding Coach Sherwood Haydock.
Those tools and that versatility are big reasons why the IU football program has expressed some very early interest in the 2008 standout. While Indiana has yet to offer a scholarship, Suel was one of 20 players who was in Bloomington last month for IU's Junior Day. Haydock thinks once Suel shows his academics are in order for college admission, the IU offer will come soon afterwards.
IU Assistant Head Coach Bill Lynch has led the Hoosiers' recruiting efforts with Suel. The IU assistant attended a Harding H.S. practice in the fall to watch one of Harding's seniors, and came away impressed with what he saw from Suel on both sides of the ball.
That got the ball rolling, and the Hoosiers have been at the forefront of Suel's mind ever since.
"He loves IU already," Haydock said. "He was there for the Junior Day and just fell in love with the place. By IU jumping in early, that impressed Marquelo quite a bit that they were the first to really come after him. I think he has a sense of loyalty to that"
Since then, more programs have begun to take notice of Suel's skills. Haydock said Indiana, Iowa, Purdue and Illinois have shown the most interest among Big Ten schools, while a slew of Mid-America Conference programs have also inquired about him.
Whichever program eventually lands Suel will be getting a player with a chance to be a major contributor on either side of the ball.
"I think he's a better offensive player, but he's a great defensive player as well," Haydock said. "He'll probably be recruited by most as a wide receiver, but I know IU has already asked him about defense.
"I think he's the type of kid you can't go wrong with because he's quick enough and fast enough to play corner, but big enough to play safety. Then, on offense, he has the potential to be a 6-3, 210-pound wide receiver who is extremely physical and fast."
The numbers from his junior season bear that out. In his first season as a starter, Suel caught 50 passes for nearly 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns, including a seven-catch, 98-yard effort in Harding's 21-7 Class 2A state championship game win over Southridge. On defense he had a couple of interception returns for touchdowns, and he was also a standout on Harding's special teams units as well.
"He was one of three guys on the team that hardly ever came off the field," Haydock said. "He's a guy that can run all day and hit all day and it doesn't bother him. He was as fast in game 15 as he was in game one."
That's why Haydock believes the future is a bright one for Suel. Haydock said Suel already compares very favorably to former Harding H.S. standout and current Purdue wideout Selwyn Lymon, who was one of the nation's premiere wideouts when the Boilermakers inked him two years ago. After sitting out the 2005 season, Lymon was Purdue's fourth-leading receiver this fall with 33 catches for 580 yards (17.3 average) and three touchdowns.
"As a sophomore, I told him he was as good as Lymon at that age, which sparked him because he knew how good Lymon was," Haydock said. "But he has that sort of ability and potential."
Suel Catches IU's Attention
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