SAN ANTONIO – Marcus Forston means business.
The 6-foot-2, 286-pound Miami commit is already ranked as the nation's best defensive tackle and he has backed that up by being close to unstoppable through two practices at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Forston is quick, strong and motivated and he's been one of the most impressive players at any position so far.
"When I first learned I was coming up here to go against the top players in the nation I was a little nervous," Forston said. "I got the bubble guts and the butterflies but after the first two snaps I noticed it's just the same. You go out there with that mentality that no one can stop you and it's going to happen.
"Nobody has blocked me yet since I've been up here. I try to use a different move every time I get off the line because I know the other guys are probably watching me, so when they go out there next time I can use my speed or something different."
Forston had 92 tackles and 21 sacks this season at Miami (Fla.) Northwestern, which won the class 6A state title and finished as the top-rated team in the Rivals.com Fab 50 poll.
He finished with 65 tackles and 12 sacks as a junior and is ranked as the eighth-best player nationally. The only prospect from Florida rated higher is Pompano Beach Ely cornerback Patrick Johnson, who will choose Florida, Florida State or LSU during Saturday's U.S. Army game. Even with the high ranking and notoriety, Forston said he did not expect to be doing this well in practice.
"When you look on the Internet, how these guys are all hyped up, you think they're monsters," he said. "But when I went out there, they always joke around with me and say I move so fast. They say, 'I've never seen a lineman explode off the ball like that.' In 1-on-1s, I haven't been blocked yet."
Forston raves about Miami coach Randy Shannon, his honesty and the future of the Hurricanes. The defensive lineman said he is convinced there are enough young players already in the program to make it a national power. A highly-rated recruiting class with Forston as the anchor should also help the rebuilding process.
I got the bubble guts and the butterflies but after the first two snaps I noticed it's just the same. You go out there with that mentality that no one can stop you and it's going to happen.
- Marcus Forston on going against the best
Forston said he talked with fellow five-star commit Arthur Brown multiple times before his commitment to Miami last month. Brown is a 6-foot-1, 210-pound linebacker who is also playing on the East squad. He finished with more than 130 tackles the last two seasons at Wichita (Kan.) East. They are the two five-star recruits so far in Miami's class.
"Every time I make a sack or a big play I put up the 'U' and mess with the guys," Forston said. "I talked to (Brown), not telling him about football, but I was telling him about love. I was telling him if he ever gets homesick I stay about 10 minutes away from the school. He knows I can take him to my house, my mom can get him a hot meal and we'll take care of him in the 'U' family."
This week, Forston said he is focused on plugging up the defensive line, creating chaos in the backfield and battling some of the nation's best offensive linemen. He's causing all kinds of problems since no one has proven yet they can consistently block him.
Forston has been too quick and too powerful and the offensive linemen have had no answers. Playing defensive tackle is tough, but Forston is not one to back down from a challenge.
"Marcus got a little fired up," East coach Robert Prunty said. "He started coming off the ball. We know he could do that but it's good for him. The kids feed off him on the defensive line so we were happy he had a good practice both days."
Said Forston: "It's tough because those guys are bigger, some (offensive linemen) are 6-7, 340 pounds, but the thing that's so great is the great players have technique and that's something I have is technique and pad level.
"They're 6-7 but if I'm lower than them they're going to move back. If they're high, I'm going to blow them off the ball. I'm coming off the ball and I have strength coming behind it…I go hard every play. I've been busting my tail. I'm doing it for Miami and I'm trying to put Miami on my back."