March 17, 2004

Is Fla. LB Better Than Keith Rivers?

Junior to watch: Marvin Sapp

School: Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood HS

Position: Linebacker

Size and Speed: Sapp is 6-0, weighs 210 pounds and runs the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds. He bench presses 370 pounds, squats 510 pounds and power cleans 295 pounds. He boasts a vertical jump of 30 inches.

Statistics: As a junior had 120 tackles.

The Skinny: Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood High School is home to one of the best running back prospects for the Class of 2005 in 6A Player-of-the-Year Maurice Wells. And now, Sandalwood received a huge boost on defense in the off-season when linebacker Marvin Sapp transferred in from 3A state runner-up Jacksonville Bolles and Sandalwood head coach Adam Geis is extremely excited about Sapp's arrival.

"Marvin is a real quiet kid, but he plays like a maniac killer," Geis said. "The kid is phenomenal. He just tries to kill people."

Sapp led the Jacksonville area with 120 tackles last season as a junior at Bolles. He earned first- team All-City honors and was named Northeast Florida Defensive Player-of-the-Year.

Geis said that Sapp transferred from Bolles because of bad blood between Sapp and the coaching staff.

Geis added a Division-I prospect to his team, but his stock is not as high as it should be at this point in time. Geis said that the coaching staff at Bolles did little to help Sapp's recruiting and that was one of many reasons why he left.

Despite no help from Bolles, Sapp has already picked up offers from Georgia Tech, Duke, Vanderbilt and Central Florida. Geis believes once recruiters flock to Sandalwood in the spring, they will see Sapp's abilities and his recruiting will gain momentum.

However, in the meantime Geis is going to continue to try and inform the country about Sapp. One way he is going about achieving his goal, is comparing him to Class of 2004 linebacker prospect and USC signee Keith Rivers.

"He is twice as big as Keith Rivers," Geis said. "I saw Keith Rivers get off the bus last year and he is about three inches taller than Marvin, but Marvin's build is not even close.

"He is built like a NFL linebacker right now. He is enormous. His arms are just enormous."

Sapp didn't draw those comparisons sitting on his laurels. In the weight room, Sapp is currently bench pressing 370 pounds, squats 510 pounds and power cleans 295 pounds.

Spring practice is going to be the breaking point on whether Sapp's stock takes off or not. However, Geis does not have any doubts Sapp will be one of Florida's best linebackers in 2005.

"The great thing about Marvin is that it is only going to take him one game and one practice for him to show himself," Geis said. "Then he is going to have them (offers) all over the board. I can't wait to see him practice in the spring.

"He really stepped our team up from what I thought was an overall B to an A-minus."



 

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