RB/WR David Marrero (profile)
St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
Ht: 5-9.5; Wt: 177
4.34 forty; 4.15 shuttle
12 bench reps; 30.1" vertical
The short story is that TB/WR David Marrero has committed in the last week to Notre Dame, giving them their first commitment in this 2003 class, but that David is continuing with his application to Stanford for admission.
Interested in the long story?
The background is that David has had Stanford leading for him for some time, especially with their early interest and offer. Even before that offer, he held Stanford and Notre Dame up as his two most coveted schools.
"Before the whole thing had even started, it was Stanford and Notre Dame for me," said Marrero.
Then when Notre Dame followed up on Stanford's offer with one of their own, Notre Dame pulled about even with the Cardinal. David then trekked all the way out to the Stanford campus for the Junior Day in late May. Many of the attendees of that Stanford Junior Day were making a trip of any length that weekend to package the experience together with the highest profile Nike Camp of the year on Stanford's campus the day prior. But David had already made his mark with his camp-best 4.34 forty at the Miami Nike Camp earlier in the spring. Thus he traveled from Ft. Lauderdale all the way to Stanford for the Sunday Junior Day, and then took a red-eye flight home that night so as to not miss any school that Monday. What a kid.
The experience at the Junior Day with the Stanford coaches, players and faculty impressed David greatly and moved Stanford solidly back into the lead. Now most recently, David made a swing through the Midwest to check out several Big Ten schools plus Notre Dame. The impression Tyrone Willingham made on David was impactful, and the Domers pulled back even with Stanford.
But Notre Dame left something in David's mind that stuck with him and ultimately weighed heavily in his experience. Willingham told David that they are recruiting two groups of backs in this class: smaller all-purpose backs who can run and catch out of the backfield, and larger Ron Dayne-type bruisers. Willingham told David that he was #1 on their list of smaller backs, while someone like 6'3" 240-pound Joe Cohen from Palm Bay in Melbourne - just three hours up the Eastern coastline of Florida was the build they wanted for another back in the class. David noted he would relish a big kid like Cohen to come in with him.
"I want backs like that to come in with me. I'm not an every-down back at my size."
If David committed to Notre Dame, they would cease recruitment of backs similar to David and keep on only with the oversized fullback types like Cohen. David would be their guy, period, at tailback in this class. I of course had to follow up and ask about Reggie Bush, who has been of intense interest to both Stanford and Notre Dame. David is very familiar with Bush, and has in fact been able to watch tape of the phenom. David says that they are similar runners, and that Reggie is one of three backs at David's position on Notre Dame's list. Willingham told Marrero that Reggie was close to David on this list, but that they would back off Bush if Marrero committed. Should David hold out, they would have to continue recruiting Bush.
In David's mind, concrete tailback role in Willingham's erroneously self-described "West Coast offense" was a significant contrast with what Stanford had in store for him. They were not recruiting him as a strict tailback, where they have concentrated their efforts this year primarily on Jason Evans of Georgia and Reggie Bush of San Diego. Stanford told David that they would use him in a hybrid receiver position, sometimes in the slot, sometimes split out wide. They told David that they saw him similar to a Brian Allen, but with more speed and in a greater receiving role.
"Stanford told me they could use me here, here and there. But not one specific and defined position."
David looked at the offense that Buddy Teevens helped run at Florida with Steve Spurrier, and didn't see this type of player. Teevens compared what David could be at Stanford to what Robert Gillespie did at Florida, but David was dismayed to check the stats and see that Gillespie wasn't used much at Florida.
"It looked to me like he didn't get to really showcase his talents."
So with the promises Tyrone Wilingham has made to David about his role and utility at Notre Dame, in contrast to concerns about the same at Stanford, David made the best choice for himself. The Notre Dame promise that he will be the lone feature tailback in this class gives him security, as opposed to some doubts and uncertainty as to how he would be used in Stanford's new offense.
But David is not leaving himself unprotected with so much of this recruiting season still to go. He told me that he has finished 4/5 of the Stanford application for admission, and has only teacher recommendations yet to go to finish. Even though he has given a verbal commitment to Notre Dame, he says he will push through with the rest of the application.
"A verbal commitment is only that, and I need to protect myself. I will be watching Notre Dame to see if Coach Willingham keeps his promises to me."
Specifically, David will be watching the recruitment of someone like Reggie Bush. If Notre Dame continues on with Bush, David will not be caught defenseless. He hopes to finish up the Stanford application and gain admission, to arm himself with Stanford should Notre Dame not hold true to all their promises.
Very ironically, a report has come out just today from Scott Kennedy at Newberg Recruiting warning that Notre Dame is a darkhorse to still watch in the recruitment of running back Jason Evans. Marrero stays well informed of recruiting reports, and you can bet he's watching this, along with all the latest with Reggie Bush. I can tell you that this is a smart kid who has an intelligent approach to this process, and he's watching Notre Dame with a careful eye.
While he is committed to Notre Dame at this time, he knows he has exposed himself by committing this early. Notre Dame has made some strong promises to him, and they will fall on their own sword if they don't follow them to a tee. Stanford will likely continue to recruit Marrero, in light of these circumstances. You can often connect a line to various recruits in a class, and how decisions and changes for one can impact several others. Well, David has just been connected with several people in this class. Darned interesting.
Before we depart the subject of David continuing with his admissions application to Stanford, let's set the record straight on his numbers. His SAT is 1110, and even he is amused at the range and variety of scores reported on the Internet. He isn't satisfied personally with that score, by the way, and will take it one more time. David has also compiled a cumulative GPA of 3.6 through his junior year at St. Thomas Aquinas.
On the field, David has put up some strong numbers, but they greatly understate his abilities. His junior year at STA, he carried the ball 71 times for 580 yards and 14 scores. That's a scant number of touches, but hitting paydirt every five carries, and running at better than 6 yards per carry - well, that's impre