This time, the ringer on Markeith Ambles' phone is getting a rest. This time, his mailbox isn't overflowing with letters from football coaches. This time, there's no battle royal for his services. The former USC Trojan's second trip around the recruiting block is being taken in a Buick, not a Porsche. And the chuffer is an 85-year old with cracked bifocals.
A five-star prospect out of high school and the No. 3 wide receiver in the class of 2010, the 6-foot-2 Ambles once held scholarship offers from top programs all over America. He chose USC on Feb. 3, 2010, but was dismissed from the squad after playing in just one game due to a mix of off-field trouble and academic issues.
Now preparing to play his first season at Arizona Western Community College, the trouble he trudged through at USC is behind him and he's ready to do the recruiting dance again. Problem is: this time, his waltz partners are late to the ball.
"Illinois is his only offer," Arizona Western head coach Tom Minnick said. "They came out and watched him in spring ball. He had a pretty good spring ball and got the offer. Oh, he has an offer from Arkansas State, too."
Illinois seems to be the frontrunner in Ambles' second recruitment, but being at the top of his list these days isn't exactly the honor it once was.
"I want to take two or three visits and commit by my second game or so," said Ambles, who redshirted last season. "I don't know where, but I know Illinois will be one of them."
But why the total drop off in interest from top-flight programs? For that question, Ambles struggles to find an explanation, saying only that he expects more offers to roll in this season. Minnick, on the other hand, seems to have a more defined theory.
"We're trying to get him on the right track as far as not being lazy and getting his butt up to go to weights," he said. "When you come from a big-time program, all kids think they're the crap when they get to JC. Sometimes, you're not. There are other good players. I think that finally struck him. We're still getting him through that phase."
Minnic says that he believes Ambles is on track to graduate in December and also expects his recruitment to pick up this season. he won't speculate to what extent but not that, as of now, only Illinois and Arkansas State have so much as inquired about the former five-star prospect.
"We're kicking him in the rear here and making him do some things," Minnick said. "But I'm sure this thing is going to pick up once he gets on the field and does some stuff."