West Philadelphia Catholic HS (Jackson, MI)
Position Rank: 5
His Recruiting Story:
Marques transferred to Philadelphia West Catholic High School for his senior season and took his game to another level. When we saw him at the Penn State Nike camp in April of 2004 he weighed in at 330 pounds, but still managed to run 5.09 in the 40. In addition, he was a man amongst boys in the one-on-one drills tossing opponents left and right. When we next saw him (at the Army All-American game in San Antonio in mid January) he was even better. The benefits of participating in West Catholic's program showed, as he was down to a svelte 310 and was even more dominant.
Originally slated to compete along the offensive line, Slocum beat out Iowa commitment Dace Richardson for the starting offensive guard spot. When he made it clear he wanted to play defense, he switched to that side of the ball full-time. He claimed the starting defensive tackle spot after one practice!
Slocum's recruitment started with a whirlwind visit tour with his high school team that took him all over the country. At the end of his journey, two teams stood out…the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans. Official visits to each school did little to clear up his choice. Ultimately, though, Michigan's winning tradition won out and he pledged to the Maize and Blue on January 19, 2005.
Academic struggles early in his high school came back to haunt him at the end of his senior year when it was determined that he had failed to qualify and wouldn't be able to enroll at Michigan. "You know, when I was younger I didn't really care about school," he said. "It was just in the way, and I didn't appreciate it. Now, I think about things and I really want to be back in school. I miss it."
Rather than opting to pledge to another school, Slocum decided to attend Milford Prep in upstate New York. He hoped a semester of post grad work would allow him to raise his test score to and achieve qualifying status.
Injuries limited his participation on the field and Milford. Meanwhile, he was not able to raise his test score to the required level in his only semester on campus. He is now back home in Philadelphia and is taking a standardized test every month in an attempt to get qualified. He was only allowed to take the SAT while at Milford, but is now taking both the SAT and ACT.
"I signed up to work with a lady who is going to help me every day," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting together with her so I can catch up. I've talked to Coach (Steve) Stripling and he is all behind me, 100-percent," he said. "I am already scheduled to take the SAT again on Jan. 26, and the ACT on Feb. 11, just in case. I have until June." The SAT and ACT are given on alternative months from October through June.
Slocum said he isn't even considering other options, should the Michigan door close as a result of his academic shortfalls. He is determined to make the grade.
When we observed Marques back in the spring, he compared favorably to current Michigan defensive linemen Gabriel Watson and Alan Branch at the same stage of their developments. All three have outstanding athletic ability and coordination for their sizes and are capable of dominating opponents. However, the difference with Marques is he used his senior season to mold himself into a highly conditioned player. He was a force to be reckoned with against top competition at the Army All-American Bowl. Furthermore, most of his strength at this point is natural. He only started to seriously lift weights when he arrived at West Catholic. He is truly a young man that is just scraping the surface of what he could be. Should he qualify, Slocum has an opportunity to gain early playing time.