Orlando's Dr. Phillips High School netted the Colorado State Rams a quarterback in last year's recruiting class. Now, that quarterback, Nico Ranieri, may be the key in landing even more talent from the Panthers' state playoff-qualifying team of 2008.
Dr. Phillips Linebacker Charles Favors, defensive back/running back Marvin Ford and outside linebacker Marquise Hood are all considering Colorado State, thanks largely to the work of Rainieri.
"Nico is doing a heck of a recruiting job," said Dr. Phillips Assistant Coach Steve Schyck. "I remember talking to Charles a couple months ago about where he wanted to go to school. We were talking about Virginia and he said Virginia was too cold for him. Now that Nico has gotten to talk to him he is talking about Colorado State, I told Charles, 'you realize it is cold there too,' and he was it wasn't a problem anymore.
"Nico networks pretty good."
Favors said last week he and three of his high school teammates may end up a the same school.
"Marquis Hood, Marvin Fordand I are thinking of being a combination commit," Favors said... "I believe me, Marquise and Ford have full ride from Colorado State already. I don't think anyone else has offered (all three)."
Last season the Panthers went 10-2 before being bounced from the Florida State Playoffs in the second round. Dr. Phillips is gaining something of a reputation for producing college football talent after sending three players to division I last season and potentially another five this season.
The 6-foot-1, 230-pound Favors broke Dr. Phillips High school records last season for tackles in a game (23 vs. Boone High School) and a season (151) in his first season at middle linebacker.
"He (Favors) is a tackling machine," Schyck said. "He gets from sideline-to-sideline and fills gaps for us. He just makes plays. As a sophomore, we put him as a three-technique and just killed defenses. His junior year we moved him back to his linebacker position. When he brings it, you are going backwards. The college coaches love him."
On Sunday, Favors was ready to start making his teammates go backwards. After three days of conditioning, the Panthers were ready to put on the pads Monday evening.
"Tomorrow is our last day of helmets and conditioning. Then we get to the good part," Favors said laughing.
Favors, who will also see time at fullback for Dr. Phillips, said Tulane recently offered him a scholarship, while Colorado State keeps in contact with him and will likely have assistant coach Pat Meyer in Florida in the coming weeks for an evaluation.
"Nico showed me some videos on the (CSU) coaches Web site," Favors said. "I liked them, actually. I'll probably come down for a visit about the same time as Nico did last year."
Ford will be getting a look by Meyer and had a message for the Rams' offensive line coach.
"He said he (Meyer) was coming down this spring," Ford said. "I am looking forward to seeing him. Tell him to book me a visit. I want to come check out the school and Colorado."
Ford. who possesses 4.5 speed in the 40-yard dash, proved himself as a very flexible offensive weapon for the Panthers, running 119 times for 530 yards and five touchdowns. He also caught 18 passes for 214 yards and three touchdowns last year. He was also credited with six tackles.
"Marvin is lightning in the bottle," Schyck offered. "Marvin is more north-south, muscular kid. The track team was competing for the district championship and they lost their leading long jumper for the meet. They entered Marvin into the long jump competition and he had never done it before. He won the district championship, jumped over 20 feet. No form, he is just that kind of athlete."
Ford, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound back, has one scholarship offer, that being from Colorado State. The running back carries a 280-pound bench press, a 455 squat and a 2.6 grade-point average. Right now he has been recruited as a running back as well as a defensive backfield specialist.
"There have been a lot of coaches come through here," Ford said. "Miami Cincinnati, Notre Dame, North Carolina have all been here to take a look at me."
Ford said coaches are attracted to his running style as well as his ability to explode through a hit. Like Favors, Ford has gotten the recruiting pitch from Rainieri.
"He (Rainieri) told me a bunch of good things about it up there," Ford said. "I want to go out there and visit or go to the school. Nico said everything up there is real nice. They have facilities in-doors and Momo (CSU cornerback Gerard Thomas) played basketball with my brother."
Marquis Hood ended the season with 67 stops and two sacks from his outside linebacker position. Hood goes 6-foot-2 and 201 pounds, while running a 4.6 40-yard dash. While Colorado State is his only offer, he has been hearing from Florida Atlantic as well.
"I hit people and get to the ball," Hood said when asked to describe his game. "I have fun out there."
"Marquis is an outside linebacker that we are expecting big things from," Schyck said. "He is a great kid with great explosiveness to the ball."
Schyck went on to say a practice last week saw Hood pick him up during a drill and run 20 yards downfield with his coach in hand.
"That cat is strong," Schyck said.
Hood said he and Favors will likely commit to a college at the same time and right now CSU is the only school to have offered both players.
"Me and Charles are like peanut butter and jelly," he said. "We are thinking of committing at the same time. He is thinking of committing early and I'll see."
Hood said he is considering a criminal justice major or something in sports business. He added receiving a college scholarship offer was a surprise to him, but a welcome one.
""I was shocked. It was like my dream coming true, school getting paid for. That is a dream," Hood said.
Like Favors and Ford, Hood has also been recruited by Raineri
"He has shown me the Web site and the coach has a house with the lake behind the house," Hood said. "They showed me what they do in the off-season for their workouts and what they do in the tunnel before the game and the student section is all crazy. I liked it."
Schyck added he wasn't sure if all three Dr. Phillips High targets will end up in Fort Collins, but he said Coach Meyer does a terrific job in recruiting the area.
"I think they are still all open right now," Schyck said. "I know the guy that comes from Colorado State does a hell of a job recruiting and they all love him. Once they get into the process, they will have to find the schools that are right for them."
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