Richard Davenport has been a recruiting columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette since 2007.
Marion DE has big upside
Marion junior defensive end Cortez Whitaker will only play his second year of football when he takes the field this fall.
Whitaker, 6-4, 250, 4.8 seconds in the 40 yard dash, played at West Memphis Christian as a sophomore and played basketball at Marion this past season. He’s a raw talent that has a huge upside, said Patriots coach Jed Davis. Sophomore highlights CLICK HERE
“He's got an explosive first step,” Davis said. “He's the prototypical guy colleges are looking for a defensive end. He's tall and he’s got the broad shoulders, narrowed waist and he could easily put on 20-30 pounds and not lose a step. He's got the raw, natural God-given ability of being just a tremendous athlete. Now we just have to coach him up to do the techniques and make him a great football player.”
On the field, Whitaker looks the part of a big-time athlete.
“Moving around out on the football field, the guy looks like he belongs out there,” Davis said. “ That's why college coaches are coming by. He’s strong in the weight room. We’ve been maxing out on reps. Because he’s also a receiver we did 185 (bench press) and he did 20 reps of 185. That’s a good starting spot because he hasn’t been in the weight room for about five weeks.”
Arkansas tight ends coach Barry Lunney Jr. visited the school last week. Arkansas State and Ole Miss are also showing interest.
“He’s a project,” Davis said. “He’s not someone that will go in and start immediately. As he gets another year or two of coaching and someone teaches him technique, he could really be good.”