Famous Footsteps

Over the years Tennessee has become a highly desired destination for NFL legacies as represented at running back, quarterback, offensive line, defensive end and punter. Ironically the school once known as Wide Receiver U, which has supplied the pros with fleet receivers for four decades has yet to sign the direct descendent of a wideout from the League.

That would change if Mark Ingram Jr., whose father and namesake played for the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins, decides to cast his lot with the Volunteers.

A running back by trade Ingram has receiver's speed, hands, instincts and pedigree, Ingram is list at 5-foot-10, 200 pounds with 4.4 flat speed (he turned a 4.38 at Michigan State's camp) and a 36-inch vertical leap. Although he would like to follow his father's football success he prefers to blaze his other path to gridiron glory.

"I can play either running back or wide receiver or even some corner," he told Scott Eklund of Dawgman.com. "It sorta just depends on where a team wants me to play, but if you asked me what I preferred, well that's pretty easy – running back."

Last fall Ingram accounted for 1001 yards rushing, 270 receiving and totaled 22 touchdowns for Grand Blanc High School, bringing his three-year total to 2,561 yards and 41 touchdowns.

He has since transferred to, and will play his senior season at Southwestern Academy in Flint, Mich. Next fall he'll attend his third different school in as many years. The chief competition for his services are Michigan State, where his father played, Cincinnati, Florida, Washington, Iowa, Tennessee, Wisconsin. He has also been offered by Illinois, Indiana, Toledo and Central Michigan. All of his favorites with the exception of the Gators have offered.

For a young man who grew up around NFL royalty, including hanging out with Dan Marino's children, the recruiting process is hardly overwhelming. And if it does he can just consult his personal trainer.

"He's probably the person I work with most," Ingram said of his father, "he wakes me up in the morning and we go running together and after school, after track practice. We workout during the summer too and he takes me on all of my visits."

The Ingrams have made unofficial visits to Michigan State, Michigan, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Washington. He's also expected to visit Florida before the summer is concluded. He's in no apparent hurry to choose a college and hasn't set a deadline to do so.

Ingram's summer has consisted of camps, visits and a series of workouts designed to make his swan song a big hit.

"I'm working on my strength and agility and quickness all the time," Ingram said. "That can only get you better when you work hard every chance you get. I'm excited about this coming year at Southwestern and I want to finish my high school career on a high note."

Even without a former NFL star for a father, Mark Ingram Jr. is a notable prospect with bright future.


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