Winston Weighs Top Four

In the "offer theory" of recruit evaluation, you scrutinize the regional schools who have decided to offer a prospective student-athlete. Those schools in-state and nearby should have the best evaluation, and thus their offers are positive signs. When you look at 6'7" Arkansas TE/DE and his offer from the Razorbacks, as well as the Florida Gators, you know this is a recruit worth watching closely.

A recruit who has received little pub this recruiting season, but deserves a world of fanfare, is Arkansas tight end/defensive end Marc Winston. The 6'7" two-sport athlete (an intriguing forward on the basketball court) did not enjoy a wildly successful senior season on the gridiron, but his abilities have shown through to college coaches. His Parkview Magnet High School team finished the year 3-7, but Winston made a splash as a utility star on defense. He started the year at defensive end, then moved to inside linebacker and closed the year at outside linebacker.

"We did not win a lot of games but I feel like we closed on a high note," Winston opines. "We showed we were a team to be reckoned with, ending on two back-to-back wins. I know a lot of young guys on the team now have the confidence to spring to a big year next year, and I feel like I helped the team set up for the future."

In the final game of the year, the 6'7" 235-pounder showed off his remarkable speed and agility playing at OLB. He recorded two interceptions. One he ran back for a touchdown and the other sealed the game.

With no rest for the weary, Winston is already off and running for his senior basketball season. Parkview Magnet has enjoyed more success on the hardwood than the gridiron during his high school tenure.

"We're young but talented," he describes of his 2003-04 basketball team. "Hopefully we can get to state, and maybe our third straight championship game."

The combo forward is averaging 16 points in the young season and is enjoying quite a travel schedule. Winston and his high school teammates have already played in a Dallas-Fort Worth tournament, and later this month will play at a big event in Missouri.

Football is still squarely on Winston's mind, though, as he is seeing his recruitment heat up. He tells The Bootleg that he has his list of offer schools narrowed down to an intriguing final four: Arkansas, Florida, Duke and Stanford.

The Blue Devils already enjoyed the first crack at an official visit from the jumbo athlete, when he tripped to Durham the weekend of December 5. That coincided with the head coach hiring announcement of Ted Roof, and Winston had a front row seat for the press conference.

But the biggest news of the last month has been the rapid entrance the Gators have made in the Marc Winston sweepstakes. "Florida came in fast, and offered the next thing you know," he comments.

"I'm taking a look at all four schools," Winston says of his list. "All the schools are not bad; two are powerhouses. I'm looking at what they offer in my major - probably something in business/marketing/management. All four are offering me a chance at a lot of playing time, and all use the tight end in their offense. I need to see where my heart is, so I need these visits to see the campus and players. By February, I should know exactly what I want."

Stanford will get his next official visit the weekend of January 9. Winston then hits his two SEC suitors: Florida on 1/16 and Arkansas on 1/23.

The Cardinal are being led in this recruitment by running backs coach Wayne Moses, who was in the Winston home just last week. "Coach Moses has told me about all the things a Stanford degree can do for you later in life," the recruit reports. "We also talk about my [admissions] application. I've written my essays already and am just getting my teacher recommendations together. I might take the ACT one more time and aim for a 25."

Winston currently holds a 23 on the ACT and reports a 3.4 GPA.

The top four are tight, but after a little prodding, Winston gives a glimpse at some slight separation among the quartet. "If I had to pick a top three it would be Arkansas, Florida and Stanford," he declares. "Arkansas and Florida are just a little ahead of Stanford, but that could all change when I visit."

Marc Winston is currently the #40 rated defensive end in America, according to TheInsiders. He however is being most hotly recruited by these schools for the tight end position.

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