May 31, 2009

Cooks, UW close to offering Texas D-tackle

On the heels of a verbal commitment from defensive tackle Bryce Gilbert, the Wisconsin Badgers are picking up steam and may be on the verge of landing another talented run-stuffer.

Marcus Bagley, who stands a stout 6-foot-2, 305 pounds, is the newest prospect being courted by third-year defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks.
Although Bagley has yet to receive an offer from the Wisconsin staff, it's apparent a scholarship is on the way for the first-team all-districts 5A performer.

Saturday night, caught up with the head coach at North Mesquite High School (Tex.), Mike Robinson, to discuss the future of his star tackle.

The following is a question and answer segment with Bagley's high school football coach

How did the UW staff find out about Marcus?

Coach Robinson: Coach Cooks has been coming here for years now. I'm telling you, Marcus is a diamond in the rough…in the sense of a complete player. Not only is he a leader, not only does he have the grades, he's one hell of a football player. He's a very smart and tenacious football player. Marcus is 6-foot-2, 305 pounds and makes plays from sideline to sideline. Rarely will you see one man singly block him. He had a bench press of about 350, squatted over 500, dead lifted over 500 and power cleaned about 285.

He's already qualified; he's got like a 3.7 or 3.8 GPA. He's what everyone is looking for in a d-lineman, except he's not 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5. I think a lot of schools are going to regret not taking a second look at him if they base it on his height.

You mentioned he's a diamond in the rough, could you expand on that?

Coach Robinson: Well, because a lot of high profile kids have been to all the combines. Either that or they've been on teams that have made long playoff runs or won state championships. Unfortunately, our team has not made it to that point yet. Therefore, he did not get all the recognition he should have gotten. Had he been able to go to all the Nike and Rivals camps, just all of those combines. Marcus was our only first-team all-district football player.

A few schools noticed him but never really recruited him until they came around this fall. A lot of coaches couldn't believe he was just sitting there without an offer. I'm telling you, if he makes the commitment to play of the Badgers he'll be an all-Big Ten player; I promise you that…Not only athletically, but also academically.

Could you catch us up on his recruitment? Are there any schools other than Wisconsin currently showing interest in Marcus?

Coach Robinson: Yes, there are several looking at him. OU showed an expressed interest in him, as well as Texas A&M. UTEP has been showing interest. I'm not currently at school so I can't look at my list right now. Texas Tech is another. Coach (Brent) Venables from OU thought he was a very dynamic player. Also, Coach (Charles) McMillian from A&M really liked him.

A lot of people wanted to wait to see what his first two games of next season looked like. Also, a lot of schools wanted him to come to their camps. Unfortunately, some kids can't afford to travel the country going to camps.

Is there a timetable for a commitment?

Coach Robinson: Marcus wants to play for whoever wants him. He doesn't necessarily have a favorites list. He will look at the offers that he has, or the schools showing interest, and then make a sound decision based on not only football but academics. His academics are real high. I think he's only had about three B's throughout high school, the rest are A's. He takes a lot of pride in his grades.

Could you expand on your relationship with Coach Cooks? How about Marcus' relationship?

Coach Robinson: As far as Kerry and Marcus, I know Marcus has called him a handful of times. Coach has shown some interest in him and the kids are able to call as much as they want. I'm sure Kerry will tell you, as well as every other recruiter, that when they come to my school I'm ready. The kids that I have that can play…I'll promote them and I'm not going to show any favoritism. When the coaches come to my school they are greeted with a note sheet, highlight video and a packet of transcripts. Then, I give them all the time they need because the more availability my kids have, the better our program will become.

I just want to say that I don't have any other special relationship with Kerry. I treat everyone the same way. I treat every recruiter the same, no favoritism.

What can Badger fans expect to see on film from Marcus Bagley?

Coach Robinson: When you see his DVD, you'll see that if the Badgers make this offer official, and he comes up there, they will be getting one dynamic football player. From my understanding the head coach is out of town and everyone has officially signed off, they just need the head coach to sign off. If that happens, they'll fax the letter down Monday or Tuesday at the latest. Then, they'll send a hardcopy in the mail.

I've already met with Marcus' parents…I let my kids know if they have an opportunity to play big time football, look at where you're at and look at the school. I told him that they need to spend countless hours researching the area (Madison) and the school. Also, check out the area of study; he likes computer science. I told him to check out that department and told him to call Coach Cooks with any questions.

We've already talked about the Big Ten. He'd be playing schools like Michigan, Purdue, Ohio State, Penn State. We've talked about all of it. We've talked about the distance and he doesn't mind. He wants to play and he wants to prove he can play on that level. I know he's got heart and that's why I'm not afraid to say he'll be all-Big Ten academically and athletically.

When you watch him play, you'll see him standout from the others. I'm telling you, he's a diamond in the rough. If he was 6-foot-4 or 6-foot-5, it'd probably be a different story. He's just around 6-foot-2; it just baffles me. People tell me that they won't take a quarterback under 6-foot-2, well, heck, if I have a quarterback who is 6-foot-1 and can run and throw…I just don't understand that. I hear that a lot and it just baffles me. Whoever the future mike linebacker is going to be will love Marcus Bagley. Two guys upfront are going to have to tangle with him all the time. That's going to free someone up and the backers won't have to worry about a guard coming untouched.

Stay tuned to throughout the course of the week for comments from Bagley himself.

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