Marcus McWilson's had one of his biggest performances on the biggest stage in Ohio prep football.
The Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney do-it-all athlete came up with a key second quarter interception in a 21-14 win over Springfield Shawnee in the Division III state title game this past December. His 36-yard return set up the Cardinals' final score of the game, and his play at safety, wide receiver and on special teams esnured the lead held up.
The 6-0, 195-pound McWilson's value to his team this past fall is captured in the variety of ways he was used by the Cardinal Mooney coaching staff this past fall. Now, college programs are starting to line up to have McWilson make that type of impact for their program.
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For a player of his talents, it was surprising McWilson ended his junior season without a single scholarship offer, but that situation has been quickly rectified. After Youngstown State broke the ice earlier this winter, Nebraska, Indiana and most recently Michigan State and Illinois have followed up with offers of their own.
McWilson contacted Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi on Thursday, the day after National Signing Day, and was told about the offer from the Spartans.
"It was nice to hear from him and he likes me for their defensive style," McWilson said. "I know Michigan State is a good program. They have a good academic program and they are good on the football field as well. So, I was definitely happy about it. I am definitely going to go down for the junior day, check things out and see how I like the atmosphere and the environment."
McWilson had considered visiting Michigan State this weekend, but plans to be watching the Super Bowl. He will travel to East Lansing on Feb. 25 for a junior day visit, and also plans to attend Ohio State's junior day on Feb. 12 and Illinois' on Feb. 26.
The offer from the Illini came in the same day as Michigan State's. Offers from Nebraska and Indiana came in during the month of January. The Nebraska offer is particularly interesting because Cornhusker's head coach Bo Pelini is a Cardinal Mooney alum.
"I talked to Bo Pelini and he was the one that gave me the offer," McWilson said. "One of the other coaches, I think their defensive backs coach, said he really liked me and wanted me down there. He hopes to get me out there soon and see how things are.
"They seem like nice people out there. I know Nebraska is a good school academically and on the field."
Indiana's offer preceded the Cornhusker's and came soon after the first of January. Now sitting on five early offers, McWilson is excited to see where his recruitment goes from here.
"This opens up a lot more things," he said. "I'm not just set on the schools I have offers from. I'm not leaning toward any specific school because I still have the rest of this year to truly think about it. I just have to know how to pace myself so I end up making the right decision."
Other schools that are showing early interest in McWilson include Bowling Green, Michigan, Pitt, West Virginia, Georgia and Florida.