DB Isn't So Sure About UM

When it comes to producing high quality players at the skill positions, Florida can match up against anyone in America. And this year will be no different at the cornerback position. One of the state's top prospects at that position will be Key West standout Laurence Marius.

At 5-foot-10 1/2 and 160 pounds, Marius has all the tools you look for in a cornerback prospect. One of those attributes is his speed.

"I won the fastest man competition at Bishop & Dullighan Skills Camp last summer," Marius said. "I was running 11.2 last year as a sophomore in the 100. At the NIKE Combine a few weeks ago I ran a 4.47. I've always been fast and I use it to my advantage."

As a junior last season, Marius went both ways as a running back and cornerback. He finished the season with 980 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns in just nine games. Defensively, he had three picks and returned two punts for scores.

"Maybe my best stat was that nobody scored a touchdown on me and my coach said that only four completions were made on me the entire season," he said. "They were all on short comeback routes where I quickly made the tackle. This year, I plan on letting nothing get by me."

Marius said he enjoyed competing against some of the area's top players as a junior last season.

"I get real excited about playing football," he said. "And whenever we get a chance to play against a good team or against a good player, I really get fired up. We played against Belle Glades last year and Randy Phillips was their running back and safety. I thought I matched up pretty well. When we played Pace, everyone was talking about No. 4 (Quinton Andrews). I shut him down. It was the fullback (Conredge Collins) who hurt us."

Marius, who carries a 3.2 core GPA ("I got the second highest GPA on our team) and has already passed the SAT with an 840 ("I know I can get over 1000"), believes he can match up well with the state's top cornerback prospects.

"We run a lot of man here at Key West so that helps me showcase my ability," he said. "I have the ability to totally shut down my side of the field. I'm just not getting beat, period. It hasn't happened and I don't plan on letting it happen."

The talented cornerback prospect, who played varsity baseball as a sophomore, also holds the school record in the long jump event.

"I got the record at 23-2 and I finished 7th at states last year," he said. "I know I can do better. I can get in the 10's in the 100 and I know I can get low 22 in the 200. I'm just always looking to compete."

Speaking of competition, Marius enjoys that part of football. He was asked how that may impact his decision when picking a college.

"I'm willing to go in and watch and learn at first," he said. "I don't need coaches promising me things they aren't sure about. I can take care of myself. I'll compete with anyone. I won't know everything right away but you can bet that I'll be going hard and doing whatever it takes."

Marius, who plans on attending the MSL Combine in Gainesville on April 23, will be a major target for college programs across the country this season.

"Duke University actually offered me a long time ago," he said. "Florida is my favorite right now, just because I grew up liking them. I liked Lito Sheppard and I think I can be that type of player there. It may change, though. I also like Virginia Tech and Florida State a lot too."

What about the hometown Hurricanes?

"I don't know about Miami right now," he said. "I ain't really feeling it with them. Plus, I've only been out of South Florida two times in my entire life. In 1999, we went to Mississippi for a Hurricane and my freshman year our coach took me to a camp in Champaigne, Illinois. That's about it."

While Marius appears to be a longshot for the Hurricanes, there's no debating the notion that he'll be one of the state's top prospects this coming season.

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