GIDEL: SC ‘rising' junior dazzles coaches

It's very rare for a football prospect to get a scholarship offer as a rising junior.

Unlike in prep basketball, a college recruiter generally needs extra time to evaluate tape on a respective kid and generally a sophomore doesn't have enough playing time nor has he grown into his frame enough to capture early attention.

But there are the few exceptions.

Last year it was Greenville (SC) High School wide receiver LaMarkus Boswell, who dazzled the crowd of on-lookers at UK's 7-on-7 tournament this past summer with his leaping ability and speed to walk away from Lexington with not only a scholarship, but a host of memorable fan fare.

And this year, it's another Palmetto state wide receiver who has caught the staff's eye enough to garner an early offer.

Richland Northeast High School, home to the Wildcats lone verbal commitment of Calvin Harrison, a 6-foot-2, 195 pound cornerback/safety and where defensive tackle Adam Patterson has already nailed down an offer from the ‘Cats, is now home to the first tendered scholarship offer of 2007.

Athlete Markeveis Barnes, a 6-foot-3, 190 pound junior-to-be received the official word the Wildcats were pulling the trigger on an offer last week, while current UK offensive coordinator Joker Phillips was attending a spring practice at the high school.

South Carolina, Clemson and Wake Forest have also pulled the trigger to the junior wide receiver/safety prospect.

"Markeveis is the number one sophomore in the state of South Carolina," assistant coach Duane Wages said. "He will be the most highly recruited player ever from our school and that includes Adam (Patterson), whose got about 20 offers right now."

"One of the schools that offered early told us that Markevious could start for them right now as a rising junior," Wages said. "He's 6-foot-3, 195 pounds already and plays wide receiver and free-safety for us. He plays over 100 plays per game for us as a two-way player and he has is involved in a play, offense or defense, more then 50% of the time."

The numbers dictate that. Barnes' sophomore season included 75 tackles, 3 interceptions and 10 pass break-ups on defense and 21 receptions with more than 400 yards and 4 touchdowns on offense. He also blocked three kicks.

Indications are that the Wildcats will go ahead and offer Richland Northeast junior Rodney Paulk, a 6-foot-3, 245 pound linebacker/defensive end in the future as well.

With as many as four teammates holding scholarship offers from Kentucky, Wages and RNE are planning a trip to Lexington for an unofficial visit against Louisville. With one UK recruit already on board, you can't help but imagine the possibilities of the future in Lexington.

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