When is a tight end not a tight end?
When he's on the road to becoming an offensive tackle. Such is the case for 6'7" 273-pound Chris Marinelli, who made noise in New England last fall as a standout starting tight end and defensive tackle at Boston College High School in Boston (Mass.). But during his junior season, the jumbo athlete was playing at 245 pounds and barely resembles the build you see today.
"College coaches see me and say I could hold 330 pounds," Marinelli notes. "I'm in no hurry to get there, though. I just want to keep lifting and see where it gets me. I want to keep my speed and not add a bunch of fat right now."
On the defensive interior, the Massachusetts man recorded 40 tackles, six sacks and a number of pass deflections to aid the Eagles. Over on offense he is disappointed to report "only" 15 receptions at tight end, with a 12-yard average per catch.
"My school is pretty old-fashioned about how we run our offense," he explains.
Marinelli could play several positions on the defensive line at the college level, with reasonable projections pointing to a strongside defensive end or a three-technique in a 4-3 defense. He could also shine as a four-technique in a 3-4 set. Over on offense there is little chance that he would stick at his current tight end position, given a blooming body that begs for the offensive line. Which side of the ball he plays on remains an open question.
"I might like to play defensive line, but I see a lot of kids with my frame who play O-line," he muses. "I talk with the O-line and D-line coaches at [Boston College]. Stanford says they have a need for big offensive tackles, and I should get a call from head coach Buddy Teevens soon. Duke says they need defensive linemen and like me there... Mississippi State came by here recently and are the newest school to pop up. They have the most intriguing use for me yet. They have a new coach and are setting up the West Coast offense down there, and they say they would use me as a blocking tight end."
That gives you a sampling of the variety of schools and their recruited positions on the table for Marinelli right now. For more detail on the progression of his recruitment, here are three different snapshots of what he has told The Bootleg recently about his outlook on the schools recruiting him:
- Late April: "I get good grades and also like the West Coast. Stanford is definitely in my top two, with BC. A lot of kids from my school go to the Ivy League, and I'm hearing a lot from Yale, Columbia, Cornell and Harvard. They're definitely in the mix. I'm also hearing from Arizona State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Duke and Notre Dame."
- April 27: "Duke came to my school, and told my coach they were offering me and it would be in the mail soon. They said they need some top notch defensive lineman and they told me of a few other prospects which they were offering, all who are fellow recruits of mine. Solid players, good kids. I was very excited, the first offer is always great. I'm very happy that it is Duke, I can't believe I have such an amazing institution to start with. Duke was one of my top 5 anyway which makes it all that much better. I'm pumped to see what May has in store for me."
- May 9: "Duke and Stanford are my top two right now. Then there's BC. After that there are a bunch of schools who are recruiting me who I have interest in, but they haven't really stood out yet. Michigan, Maryland, Arizona State, Connecticut, Michigan State, Mississippi State and Notre Dame. I've kind of ruled out the Ivy League schools and asked my coach to not let them come by. I've decided I don't want to pay for school if I'm going to have the option of a scholarship somewhere. Why pay?"
One theme through those three snapshots is the strength of Stanford's position, despite their distance from his home in Braintree, Massachusetts. BC High is the type of private school that would be considered a "feeder program" for Stanford if it were not located on the East Coast. In talking with Marinelli, he exudes palpable enthusiasm for the Cardinal and greatly anticipates his first visit there when he camps at Stanford June 25-28.
"I know it's a beautiful campus and I'm looking forward to seeing it," the 6'7" athlete declares. "I know a lot about their academics - that's as good as it gets. California would be exciting, and it would be some place new for me."
In the classroom, Chris Marinelli holds a 3.7 cumulative GPA at BC High and scored an 1180 on the SAT in March (610 verbal, 570 math split). He retook the standardized test a week ago and will have his results this Friday. The model student-athlete is also a standout leader within his football team and was the only player voted to be a team captain for the 2004 season.
News should keep coming for Marinelli during this May evaluation period, and certainly things should be shaking when he camps at Stanford and BC in June. We'll keep you up to date with all the latest from this burgeoning Boston talent, who could fill needs at the very critical OT and DL positions in this class.
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