Since I last talked to Mark in early October, things have changed due to recruiting in general and a minor injury
"I tore my MCL vertically about four weeks ago," said the 6-4, 290-pounder. "It's not real bad. I just have to stay off of it a few weeks. I'm out for about one more week."
While he will be fine, one school that had been calling him weekly backed off due to the injury. And one school backed off of him due to filling their guard recruiting slot.
"Clemson is not calling me anymore because they want tackles, not guards," said Mark. "And Florida State is not calling me because I hurt my knee and they don't want to risk it."
But three schools continue their weekly calling. And a couple of others have jumped into his recruiting picture since I last talked to him.
"Mississippi State, Kansas, Kansas State, the University of South Florida and Coastal Carolina are calling me," said the youngster.
He's also added a couple of new offers in addition to the written ones he already had from MSU, Kansas State, Kansas, Indiana and Ole Miss.
"USF has offered me and sent their offer in the mail," said Mark, "and Coastal Carolina also told me that I have a full ride."
And what schools have made his top five?
"Right now, in no order, it would be Kansas State, Mississippi State, USF, Coastal Carolina and Kansas," said Mark.
He explained what he likes about each.
"I like Kansas State because they got after me early. They are one of the people who were willing to take a risk first. That shows me that they have faith in me. I like that about them. Mississippi State has a good program that is up and coming. They are waiting for certain athletes to come in and help them out. South Florida is another great up and coming program. And the good thing about them is they are close to home. My parents kind of want me to stay close to home because they have always been able to watch me and want to continue doing that. Coastal Carolina is like the same kind of atmosphere that I'm used to. It's by Myrtle Beach. And I have some friends that they are thinking about offering. I would have people I know there, so I wouldn't get as homesick."
Will playing close to home be a significant factor when it comes time to selecting a school?
According to Mark, "it might be because my mom is real attached to me. She hates to even see me leave the house, let alone the state (laugh). So, that might come into play a little. But personally, I don't mine going out of state, but to (my parents) it's like the end of the world because I'm the baby of the family."
While the distance appears to be a factor, will the type conference a school is in be significant?
"I know that the SEC and the Big 12 have hard opponents in their conferences," said Mark. "And I like to play against the best because I think you only get better by playing against the best. But everywhere you go, there is no slack D-I college. So, everywhere you go, there will be that challenge. Even with D-II schools, they have the best of the best from the high schools."
Has he set up any official visits?
"My dad has set up a couple," he confirmed. "He usually sets them up. I believe I have one set up with Kansas State next weekend (November 18-20). I also believe I have one set up with Kansas, but I don't believe I'm going to be able to go to it. I also have one set up with Mississippi State. I'm setting one up with USF and Coastal Carolina. They told me some dates; I just have to pick them."
Speaking of Mississippi State, the college I cover for Scout.com, has he learned anything new about them since we last talked?
"We've gotten to know the coaches a lot better," he said. "And I know more about the school and I've gotten to watch them play. I like how they play. Like last week, I know they got beat, but I was impressed with how they stuck with Alabama. When I was watching them, it was zero to zero. It was amazing watching them hang in there."
As Mark and his dad continue to set up official visits, we, at Scout.com, will be right there to report the latest.
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.