Which sport - Which side?

Size, strength, speed and all kinds of crazy potential. That's a pretty apt. description of DE/TE, Demarcus Winston as this two-side star comes into this season with plenty of press and pressure to boot. He's not just a two-sided star, but a two-sport star and choosing between the former and the latter, well that could be the biggest decision Demarcus makes all year.

Ok, this kid has crazy numbers. From his measurements to his stats, he's all-around a hot commodity, based on performance and potential. His size already got your attention, his speed kept it there and his stats last year on the defensive side (61 tackles (39 solos with 22 assists) with six fumble recoveries, 10 caused fumbles, four sacks, 15 quarterback pressures and 21 other tackles for losses), that's it, you are hooked, waiting to see what happens.

You aren't the only one, but don't think it's restricted to just football, because this kid is a heck of a basketball player to.

That's the problem.

Ok, it's not a problem for Winston or if it is, what a problem to have, because when you are good enough at two sports to get offered, you would think that's just one cushy position to be in, wouldn't you? "It's going to be hard." Demarcus said of deciding between the two. "I'm 50/50 right now and have gotten offers coming in for both sports, so right now I just don't know."

What coaches know, football coaches that is, is that Winston can play defense. Stats aside, everything else tells you that he's got an upside that won't quit. There's one problem though. What if he doesn't want to play defense?

It isn't just a decision between sports, but the kid is so good, he has to decide between positions as well and despite all that success on the defensive side, his goals take him elsewhere for the future. "In college, I would have to play tight end I think." Demarcus said. "I would rather have the ball in my hands and put some points on the board."

It might surprise you that he wants to play that, but actually, most schools are recruiting him as that, but such schools as Nebraska and Arkansas have looked at him as possibly a DE, according to Winston. It's not that the position is out of question, but Demarcus obviously has his preference. "It's not like I am totally against playing rush end, but I just like the tight end position better right now." he said.

If you look at Winston as strictly a tight end, without even seeing the film you can assume with good accuracy what some of his strengths are. The 30 receptions last year for a reported 788 yards and 4 touchdowns doesn't hurt either. Demarcus fills in the blanks though for what you can't see by the numbers alone. "I can definitely catch the ball." he said. "I have pretty good hands, I can stay in the whole game, but I'm a good blocking tight end, so it's not like you have to take me out from one possession to the next. I can stay in there and contribute no matter what."

Just a quick note about his list of favorites. Not to jump ahead, but no doubt you have seen that his favorite team according to his current list is Florida State. Demarcus stated that is and isn't true and went on to say why. "I grew up watching Florida State, so they are a favorite." Winston said. "But, they aren't recruiting me that much for football and honestly, I don't think I have ever seen them use their tight end."

"I actually couldn't name a Florida State tight end."

Ok, with that little issue aside, let's concentrate on his list as he sees it right now. "Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa and Virginia Tech are schools that are constantly sending mail and maintaining contact, so they are definitely there." he said. Out of those four that have sent him the most mail, Arkansas remains the sole offer in addition to his offer from Arkansas State.

The list as with most any state of mind right now for recruits, it's tentative to say the least. Choosing between basketball and football aside, there's a variety of other things that Demarcus is considering about the schools looking at him, an opportunity to play right away close to the top. "I want to see that I have a chance to play right away." he said. "I'm not afraid of any competition, but I want to see that there is at least the chance for me to compete for a job and try for a chance to play and get the ball."

Because of all the factors going into Winston's decision, he's not in a hurry to decide on anything. Whether it be one sport or the other, waiting for certain schools to offer and doing his homework on which situation is best for him, not to mention taking those valuable official visits, Demarcus is ready to let this whole thing play out, as long as it needs to go. "I plan on waiting at least until the end of the season." he said. "I love basketball and football, but I know the chances to go to the pros are better at football."

"I have a lot to think about, so I am really open right now to all those things, so it's just going to take some time."

Demarcus is already fully qualified, getting a 23 on his ACT (he plans to retake it) and has a core GPA of 3.5.

Steve Ryan can be reached at huskerconnection@neb.rr.com or 402-730-5619

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