For Marques Slocum, the response to the question, "What have you been up to," must sound like a broken record. His only focus since coming home from prep school back in December has been achieving the necessary standardized test score to get qualified. With one opportunity remaining until the fall, he is still a bit short.
"All I've been doing is studying for my test," Slocum said. "I need 90 points. I've got a test this Saturday."
Should Slocum not achieve the necessary score, he has decided that he would return to prep school for another semester. That would allow him future opportunities to meet the necessary qualification standard to enter college. One thing he hasn't quite made a decision on, though, is what prep school he would attend.
Last fall Slocum spent a semester at Mild Prep in New Berlin, New York. In
a May 30th report Milford assistant coach Chris Siegle told Scout.com's Bob
Lichtenfels that Slocum could return, but it would not be as a defensive tackle.
"He is likely still a little short of qualifying," Siegle said to Scout.com. "We are going to take him back, but it will be as an offensive lineman."
According to Slocum, not playing along the defensive line is not an option.
"I would (return to Milford), but if I'm playing offensive line, I ain't going back," Slocum said matter-of-factly. "I read that on the internet. If I have to go there and play offensive line, then I'll be going to another prep school."
That Slocum has chosen to prep for another semester if he were to fall short again may seem a bit surprising to those that haven't followed his situation closely. Despite the opportunities placed in front of him to attend other schools, the Philly native is unwilling to compromise on choice to become a Wolverine.
"(Forget) those other schools," said Slocum. "It's simple as that. [Michigan] is where I want to go. That's where I'm at. That's how it's going to be. I don't want to go no where else. I knew from the get go that I could have went anywhere else, have got into school, and been playing. I didn't want to go that route. I wanted to be a Wolverine and I'm going to stick to it. As long as they are going to stick with me, I'm going to stick with them. I'm not cool going to Michigan State or Penn State. I know I could go in. I don't even want to know the situation. I know this…I've been practicing all month. I feel confident going into this test on Saturday. I'm going to pass this test. When I get there, it's a wrap. I'm already one year behind. I ain't kidding, I'm serious."
Slocum's understanding of the importance of academics didn't come until late in high school career. When he moved into an environment where scholastic achievement was stressed, he thrived. In a previous conversation with GoBlueWolverine, he discussed how the change in his outlook was brought about.
"When I first got to high school I just was really playing around." recalled Slocum. "I was at a school that really didn’t care. They just wanted you to get by at your sport, and academic wise, it really didn't matter. When I transferred for my senior year at West Catholic, they really cared about me. I pulled my grades up, but I just wasn't able to pass with the SAT. I wish I could go back and change everything. I wish I would have gone to (Philadelphia) West Catholic all four years and maybe I would have been able to come right into college. But I know once I get to college I 'm going to do everything to pass because I don't want to be in that situation again, so it helped me…a lot."
Despite his extremely positive outlook, the frustrating nature of his ordeal has begun to wear on him a bit. Even so, the articulate youngster is bound to stay determined.
"This test is really killing me," admitted Slocum. "They should put in some rule that if you don't get it by a certain test, they should give it to you (laughing). They're really messing with my life right now. I really want to get back into school. I really want to play football…but I really want to go back to school. I've been out of school for a YEAR! I wake up, and I have nothing to do. I wake up, and I'm at home. I don't want to be at home. I want to be in college. I told my mom, I wake up everyday and I swear I wish I was in school. I know I messed up with my grades and I know I could have made it easier for myself, but I didn't. I'm and kid and I learned from it."
"I'm going to pass that test," continued Slocum. "I'm going
to Michigan in July. Prep school ain't even really in my mind. It is…but
only as a second option. I've been working hard and I'm going in there Saturday