December 4, 2008

Florida CB hoping for offer from favorite

Marcus Berg has done all he can do.

The 5-foot-11, 171-pound cornerback from Neptune Beach (Fletcher), Fla., rolled up 72 tackles, broke up 12 passes and intercepted three more as a senior.

He appears to have a college favorite, and that school is interested in him as well. There has been talk of an official visit in January, but so far, a scholarship offer seems to be just out of Berg's reach. That could be changing soon.

"Right now everything's going well," Berg said Thursday night. "Me and (Ole Miss recruiting coordinator/cornerbacks) Coach (Chris) Vaughn talk on a weekly basis. I think they're going to try and get me up there in January.

"Coach Vaughn told me he wants me up there. I haven't gotten a written offer yet, but he's telling me that he wants me up there and to keep in touch with him. I guess we're just waiting on the head coach to make a decision."

If the Rebels come through with an offer, "that would be pretty tough to beat," Berg said.

Berg, a three-star prospect rated as the nation's No. 78 cornerback prospect by Rivals.com, has had an eye on Ole Miss all season. And as the 22nd-ranked Rebels have rolled to an 8-4 record and a berth in either the Capital One Bowl or the AT&T Cotton Bowl, Berg's interest has only increased.

"I've been watching them on TV," Berg said. "They beat Florida and LSU, and they just blew out Mississippi State. I know they're going to a bowl game. I know some stuff about the campus and their indoor practice field. I was looking on the Internet and I watched the highlight tape of one of their safeties. He's all right. He's good."

Berg doesn't lack for confidence, a good thing for any future college cornerback. Ole Miss, frankly, is searching for taller corners with attitudes. Berg fits the bill.

"I'm a lock-down corner," Berg said. "I'm not easy to jump-ball on. I have great feet, great hands and I'm always hyper. I'm always ready to play."

He's even got the dreadlocks that Rebels such as Marshay Green, Kendrick Lewis and Jeremy McGee sported all season.

"It's a style thing, but some people get intimidated when they see dreads in helmets," Berg said, laughing. "I plan to keep them."

But will barbers in Oxford get a chance to style them? That's a question without an answer so far. There is competition.

"Illinois is close to an offer," Berg said. "Memphis wants me to come up there in January. They invited me to come chill with them at the bowl game in St. Petersburg. South Florida and Middle Tennessee came to speak to me today. They're always sending me letters and stuff."

Maryland offered early in the process, but "I haven't been keeping in touch with them," Berg said. "I mean, they haven't really called me lately. I don't really know what's up."

Berg isn't really interested in the Terrapins, either. And there's a reason for that. His best friend and high school teammate, Lamar Scruggs, isn't thinking about Maryland, and Berg and Scruggs are interested in taking the next step in their football careers together.

"Me and Lamar have been trying to play in the same spot, and Maryland's not in his top (group)," Berg said.

Ole Miss is.

"They've been after him pretty hard," Berg said. "All I can say is that it went from not liking Ole Miss at all to now he's seriously thinking about it. He watched a few games and he likes the way they throw the ball. He likes Jevan Snead and he likes the way they move (Dexter) McCluster around and how they spread the field and get the ball to their receivers."

Scruggs, a 6-3, 208-pound, four-star wide receiver, has offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, LSU, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia and others. In a recent interview, he said he favored South Carolina, South Florida and Tennessee. Since that interview, the Gamecocks and Bulls struggled down the stretch and Tennessee has gone through a transition from Phillip Fulmer to Lane Kiffin.

That could create an opening for Ole Miss.

"We're best friends and that would be the best thing," Berg said. "Everybody says college is the best experience and we always talk about how we don't want to go through the best experience without each other. Then we'd get to go to a winning football team. They're already going to be good. They're bringing back a lot of people, so all we can do is add to them."

Berg said he has a 2.43 grade-point average, though he recovering two online classes now and he is making up two more classes in the spring.

"They promise me if I keep doing my work, I'll be qualified," Berg said, referring the academic and counseling staff at Fletcher. "I'm on the A-B honor roll right now."

Berg has a 15 on the ACT and he plans to take the standardized test again next week. His official visits will likely occur in January.

"Me and Lamar want to take our visits at the same time, so if I come up to Ole Miss in January, most likely he'll be coming up with me," Berg said. "Most likely we'll take our official visit there at the same time."

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