Handling the process

Lufkin (Texas) assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Brooke Stafford normally plays a big hand in the recruiting process for his Panthers. When it comes to standout defensive tackle JaMarkus McFarland though, his job becomes real easy. But it's not because there is a lack of attention from college coaches.

“We’ve had 147 sign here in the last 13 years and JaMarkus no more needs us than a man on the moon,” Stafford said. “Him and his mom have this under control as far as the organization goes, so it’s actually been a lot more fun.”

 

McFarland (6-3, 285, 4.85) is Scout.com’s 5th ranked defensive tackle in the land and with that type of honor comes interest from schools all over the country.

 

You name the school and it’s a safe bet that it offered the 5-star prospect. If for some reason it didn’t then it’s only because the coach doesn’t have a need at that position, or he felt that he had no chance to land the standout performer.

 

McFarland has assembled an offer list that rivals any other prospect in the land, but he has handled all of the honors and success about as well as one could ask of a 17 year-old young man.


“He’s handling this about as mature as you can and I kind of get mad because some people are saying that all he wants is attention,” Stafford said. “That is the absolute last thing on his mind. He knows this could be a million dollar decision and he understands that. I don’t think I could be more proud of the way one of our kids has handled the decision-making process as he’s handled it.”

 

Dating all the way back to March it has been considered a three-team race for McFarland’s signature between Texas, LSU and Oklahoma. There is another school that is trying to make a strong push for his services and it can also lay claim to being one of the country’s top football programs, just like the other three.

 

“I’d say USC is making a push and how could you not listen to USC if you’re a defensive lineman,” Stafford said. “He’s listening, but I don’t think it will come down to him going out there. Even though USC has recruited him for a while, and done a good job, with the other three being somewhat regional there is a lot more of background with those guys. I’d say USC is in the hunt, but they’re a distant fourth.”

 

As for the other three schools, Stafford said that each one has its positives but at this point he doesn’t feel like McFarland knows what he wants to do.

 

“I think Texas would be the safest,” Stafford said. “He’s so big into education and with being a physical therapist, and I think that would be the safest for life after football. I think OU would be strictly a football decision and LSU is a combination of both, probably. That’s kind of what I think.”

 

It’s common at this day and age for a decision to come down to playing time and a team’s needs, especially when all other things may seem equal.

 

If McFarland’s selection does come down to that then he may still have a tough chore ahead of him in reaching in a decision.  

 

“They’re all unbelievable schools and Texas probably has the most pressing need, but OU and LSU aren’t far off because they could have a guy leave early,” said Stafford. “In my opinion, he would be in the three or four rotation early at LSU or OU, but he would be in the top two at Texas earlier.

 

“Texas is losing guys, but OU could lose (DeMarcus) Granger and (Gerald) McCoy then LSU could lose someone early too,” added Stafford. “It looks like LSU is probably in the best shape depth-wise but they could lose someone early. So, I don’t know if playing time is any different at any of the schools.”

 

McFarland has not set up any official visits at this point, but college coaches should not be caught off guard if he happens to pop up one day in Baton Rouge, Austin or Norman.

 

“I know they’ve already done one of the three schools he’s considering and they just pop in on them,” said Stafford. “They want to see how everything is with them not having two weeks to prepare for him coming. They want to see how it is in the day to day operations. His mom wants him to go to class so he’ll follow a kid to class and see that part. Now, that’s not doing stuff for attention, but just being thorough.”

 

Most who follow recruiting closely can tell that McFarland does not enjoy the attention, and it all takes is one glance at the number of stories on his profile page to reach that conclusion.

 

The attention he gets on Friday nights is a different story completely though.

 

Opposing teams have done everything they can to neutralize his presence down in the trenches. Stafford was not aware of McFarland’s stats on the year as Lufkin is sitting at 2-3 heading into Friday’s Class 5A-14 district opener with New Caney (2-2).

 

However, he knows that his defensive leader will handle all of the attention that he gets from the Eagles’ offensive linemen just as well as he’s handled everything else that has come his way.

 

“I read something in the local paper the other day and he couldn’t have handled it better,” Stafford said. “He made the comment how if he’s getting double and triple-teamed then that’s allowing somebody else to make a play. He said what he’s supposed to say, but with him he actually believes it, and that’s real impressive.”

 


Tiger Blitz Top Stories

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“He’s handling this about as mature as you can and I kind of get mad because some people are saying that all he wants is attention,” Stafford said. “That is the absolute last thing on his mind. He knows this could be a million dollar decision and he understands that. I don’t think I could be more proud of the way one of our kids has handled the decision-making process as he’s handled it.”

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Dating all the way back to March it has been considered a three-team race for McFarland’s signature between Texas, LSU and Oklahoma. There is another school that is trying to make a strong push for his services and it can also lay claim to being one of the country’s top football programs, just like the other three.

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“I’d say USC is making a push and how could you not listen to USC if you’re a defensive lineman,” Stafford said. “He’s listening, but I don’t think it will come down to him going out there. Even though USC has recruited him for a while, and done a good job, with the other three being somewhat regional there is a lot more of background with those guys. I’d say USC is in the hunt, but they’re a distant fourth.”

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As for the other three schools, Stafford said that each one has its positives but at this point he doesn’t feel like McFarland knows what he wants to do.

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“I think Texas would be the safest,” Stafford said. “He’s so big into education and with being a physical therapist, and I think that would be the safest for life after football. I think OU would be strictly a football decision and LSU is a combination of both, probably. That’s kind of what I think.”

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It’s common at this day and age for a decision to come down to playing time and a team’s needs, especially when all other things may seem equal.

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If McFarland’s selection does come down to that then he may still have a tough chore ahead of him in reaching in a decision.  

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“They’re all unbelievable schools and Texas probably has the most pressing need, but OU and LSU aren’t far off because they could have a guy leave early,” said Stafford. “In my opinion, he would be in the three or four rotation early at LSU or OU, but he would be in the top two at Texas earlier.

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“Texas is losing guys, but OU could lose (DeMarcus) Granger and (Gerald) McCoy then LSU could lose someone early too,” added Stafford. “It looks like LSU is probably in the best shape depth-wise but they could lose someone early. So, I don’t know if playing time is any different at any of the schools.”

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McFarland has not set up any official visits at this point, but college coaches should not be caught off guard if he happens to pop up one day in Baton Rouge, Austin or Norman.

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“I know they’ve already done one of the three schools he’s considering and they just pop in on them,” said Stafford. “They want to see how everything is with them not having two weeks to prepare for him coming. They want to see how it is in the day to day operations. His mom wants him to go to class so he’ll follow a kid to class and see that part. Now, that’s not doing stuff for attention, but just being thorough.”

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Most who follow recruiting closely can tell that McFarland does not enjoy the attention, and it all takes is one glance at the number of stories on his profile page to reach that conclusion.

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The attention he gets on Friday nights is a different story completely though.

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Opposing teams have done everything they can to neutralize his presence down in the trenches. Stafford was not aware of McFarland’s stats on the year as Lufkin is sitting at 2-3 heading into Friday’s Class 5A-14 district opener with New Caney (2-2).

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However, he knows that his defensive leader will handle all of the attention that he gets from the Eagles’ offensive linemen just as well as he’s handled everything else that has come his way.

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“I read something in the local paper the other day and he couldn’t have handled it better,” Stafford said. “He made the comment how if he’s getting double and triple-teamed then that’s allowing somebody else to make a play. He said what he’s supposed to say, but with him he actually believes it, and that’s real impressive.”

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