It's been a busy summer for Class of 2016 Suwanee (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge running back Malik Staples. In addition to transferring from nearby Pace Academy back to a public school, Staples has hit the camp circuit hard and his work on the road is already paying off.
"I did really well at Tennessee and N.C. State," said Staples, who currently holds an offer from Boston College. "I'm hoping that I can keep improving and have a breakout year so everything will fall into place."
Staples trip to Knoxville was among his most notable this summer, considering he went from unknown to on the Vols' radar.
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"I got great feedback," Staples said. "Coach Gillespie didn't know anything about me at first but then he was like, 'wow, I was really surprised because you're a big guy who can move.' He was really shocked. He said I have great speed and movement for my size and he told me they're going to start recruiting me from now on."
The 5-foot-11, 205-pound bruiser said he and Gillespie hit it off well.
"He's a great guy," Staples said. "He's hilarious. He's so down to Earth. I've been talking to Coach Gillespie since. He said now I just need to get some new film, because I'm transferring to a bigger school and playing tougher competition this year."
While working out for the Vols, Staples also got a chance to audition for the school's head coach, Butch Jones.
"Coach Jones came over and watched the drills and it was crazy. I knew I had to step up my game," he said. "I liked the whole experience, the campus was beautiful and everybody is just chill."
Despite a weather-shortening showing at N.C. State, Staples said he also impressed the Wolfpack coaches.
"Their running backs coach really liked me," he said. "There was a storm that day so I didn't get to work out as long as I wanted but even so, I did really well in one-on-ones so he said they really like me and they're going to be watching me."
While the Vols and Wolfpack are new to the part, Boston College has been on Staples radar since fall, when the Eagles were the first to offer.
"Boston College still shows me the most love," Staples said. "They're still on me hard. I love Coach Washington; he's a good guy. They stay on me and remind me that they offered me first. He said he doesn't care who offers me, he'll fight for me. It's real nice up there. They want me to come back for a game this year but I'm not sure which one yet."