Favorite has his 5 favorites

Having a last name of "favorite" makes you an obvious target for some metaphors and perhaps an idle quip here and there. It might even put some pressure on you, though nobody is likely to admit it. When you are as good as Marlon Favorite is however, it's just a name, another that you can stamp on many of the nation's best schools' lists of "most wanted"

Let's give you just a physical taste of what one of this year's best interior defensive linemen will be sporting. Try a 6'3" frame, a 315 lbs. body and a reported bench of 415 and a squat of 560. That's a body that is ready to play right now, you can darn near pick the level. At least strength-wise though, that's not where Marlon wants to be. "I want to be benching around 500 and squatting over 600 in college." Marlon said.

Ok, this isn't a surprise. High-end players have high-end goals, Favorite certainly not the exception to the rule. He's looking to better some other numbers as well, most notably the reported 20+ sacks from a season prior and the 100+ tackles. "I want to get better at everything." Favorite stated. "More sacks, more tackles for losses and just get better at my position."

What is to get better when your numbers are already that gaudy? Plenty according to Favorite as nothing is ever good enough for him. "You're never good enough, no matter what you do." Marlon said. "There's always room to get better. I know I can get better at my technique, my ability to bust the gaps and just improve myself overall as a player and a teammate."

"You can't ever settle for thinking you are good."

"Good" is something that Marlon has only recently become acquainted with when it comes to using it in the same sentence with himself. It's something he's heard, but still, it took a long time before he even started to believe. "My coaches always used to tell me ‘Marlon, you are going to be good'." Favorite stated. "I never knew that though. I had to find it out for myself."

Even his friends and all those that he knew telling him he was good, even that still didn't make it sink in. So, what was the final factor in Marlon at least contemplating to a degree that he could play with some of the best? "Once all the different colleges saw my film and they told me that I was good and could play on the next level, well, you just have to believe it." Marlon said.

Believe it? Favorite is starting to, but still won't just come out and say he's good, though the way he plays and talks on the field is familiar of someone at his position that isn't ‘just' good, he's one of the best. "People always compare me to Warren Sapp." Marlon said. "Warren is a little shorter than me, but we play the same and are kind of built the same way, who I got all my moves from and who I have patterned myself after since I started playing seriously."

Marlon didn't just pattern his physical style after the perennial All-Pro. He took on Sapp's more colorful aspects as well. "As soon as I get on the field, I just start in, saying ‘Ok, I know you are all about to triple-team me, but I am about to split you, spin around you, club you in the side of the head and I'm getting to the quarterback'". Marlon said. "Offensive linemen just look at me and start telling themselves, ‘man, this dude is crazy'."

"And, that was my first game."

Expression isn't Marlon's weakness as you can see and it's just part of the entire package you get with Favorite. It's a package that has offers pouring in, east coast to west, Miami to USC. All those choices, it's changed a mind-set about teams he likes from not so long ago. "I always like LSU and was always going to go there when I got to the college level." Marlon said. "Once these other schools got involved though, I knew I had to look around some more."

And right now, that "more" would include LSU, but the lucky bunch that finds themselves on the top five, or I should say the rest of it is, Colorado, Nebraska, USC and Miami. Colorado because he's got a cousin there, Miami because it's the former home of his idol, Waren Sapp, USC because as Marlon states it, "I hear it's beautiful there and I have always wanted to go to Hollywood" and as for Nebraska, "My dad is a Husker fan and when I play PS2, I am almost always Nebraska."

This list is tentative, but for Marlon, it looks good right now. Good enough that he says if he were to take his officials right now, these are the teams that would get them. Of course, he's not taking them right now. In fact, Marlon isn't taking them until the end of the season, but he's adamant that he is taking them................all of them. "I'm taking all five of my visits no matter what." Marlon said. "I need to see for myself what's going on so I know where I want to go."

He's not the only one that wants to know as you can imagine that each of those schools, their fans and any school that will try to horn in on the action wants to know as well, if not doing their best to change his mind along the way.

It's my guess that many teams are going to try and we'll keep following him to see if any succeed  

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

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