The Recruiting Guy

Searcy receiver sees chances to make impression dwindle

Searcywide receiver Marlon Crockett (1) runs the ball through Benton safety Gianni Vannucci (3) during the fourth quarter of Searcy's 28-27 win in the Class 6A state championship game on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock.

The coronavirus pandemic is making the recruiting process more difficult for thousands of prospects around the nation, including Searcy receiver Marlon Crockett.

Crockett, 6-4, 190 pounds, has scholarship offers from Kansas, Arkansas State, Massachusetts, Southern Miss and Louisiana- Monroe. He's drawing interest from Southern Cal, South Carolina, Nebraska, Washington, Illinois, Memphis, Florida International, Rice and Texas-San Antonio.

While he's appreciative of the offers he does have, the virus is hurting his ability to earn more opportunities.

The NCAA enforced a dead period for college recruiting starting March 13 due to the virus. The period forbids prospects to visit college campuses until April 15. The general thinking is the dead period will be extended beyond the 15th.

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The spring evaluation period for college coaches was to start April 15 and run until May 31. Coaches are allowed to visit high schools and junior colleges to watch prospects practice or work out, but with college spring games being cancelled, it's likely the evaluation period will be postponed or canceled.

With schools in state being closed and the Arkansas Activities Association announcing a dead period on March 20, athletes aren't allowed to work out at school's facilities.

"The virus is messing up everything, it's hard," Crockett said. "You can't do anything at all. You can't go to any camps. You can't really do anything until the whole situation is over. We don't know how long it's going to last."

The cancellation of spring games will hurt his ability to visit campuses and build relationships with coaching staffs.

"I had a lot of plans to attend spring games and spring practices," Crockett said.

Crockett, who's rated a 3-star plus prospect by CBS Sports Network national recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, is being proactive by sending out video of himself to coaches.

"I can send them film, but I really can't say, 'Coach can I come down there?' and if the coach wants to come down here, it won't be able to happen, so it's hurting recruiting badly," Crockett said.

College camps are the best way for prospects to be evaluated by coaches. Crockett had early camp invites to South Carolina, Nebraska and Notre Dame while other invites were likely.

If college camps aren't allowed, Crockett and other prospects around the nation will have lose the best opportunity to impress colleges and earn a scholarship offer.

"That's a relevant concern, If you can't get out to camps," Searcy Coach Mark Kelley said. "I'm sure they want to get him there in person and run."

Kelley is confident the NCAA and colleges will figure out a way to see recruits on or off campus.

"I think there will be people a lot smarter than I am that are in charge and they're going to figure out ways to still see the guys and still evaluate them," Kelley said.

Crockett had to cancel visits to Kansas, Memphis, Texas State and Texas- San-Antonio because of the dead period. He's ready to get back to school and start working out.

"There's nothing fun about this, but there's a serious virus going around," Crockett said. "Hopefully it ends up getting better and we get to go back to school."

He planned to participate in track and field, running the 100 and 200 meters as well as a leg on the 800-meter relay this spring. College coaches were looking forward to hearing his results.

"I have all these coaches asking me about my track times, and I haven't even touched the track," Crockett said.

Sports on 03/27/2020