Our early choice as the top player in California for the class of 2005 is North Hollywood (Calif.) running back Marlon Lucky. Lucky, 6-0, 205 pounds is one of the top three running backs in the country on our board and just a big time talent.
Lucky was the MVP of the Nike Camp in San Diego after dominating the position drills and testing very well with a 4.44 in the 40, 4.27 in the shuttle, 36.0 vertical jump and 24 reps on the bench. He rushed for 1,772 yards and 28 touchdowns as a junior and earned first team all-state Underclass honors for his efforts.
Off the field, Lucky has shown dramatic improvement in his academic standing and it now looks good for the athlete to qualify.
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"He has raised his core GPA through summer school and improved a lot on his most recent SAT attempt," North Hollywood running back coach Shawn Kang said. "He's only about 80 points shy right now and is working with a personal tutor so things look promising."
On the recruiting front, Lucky is being heavily recruited by some of the nation's top programs.
"Locally, he likes USC a lot but Mississippi State and Nebraska are really recruiting him hard right now," Kang said. "You wouldn't believe the amount of mail Marlon gets from those two schools and the amount of calls we get by them just asking how things are going. He even gets fan letters from Husker fans, it's really incredible. He's visiting Nebraska (Sept. 3) and will also visit Mississippi State and LSU for sure. LSU was the first to offer and is also a favorite for Marlon.
"With USC, it's interesting because Marlon is really not an L.A guy. In fact, I think early on, he wanted out of Los Angeles and didn't want to like USC but Coach Burns and Coach Carroll have made such a strong impression, that he can't help but like them. He loved it at their camp, likes the new RB coach a lot and is very fond of Coach Chow's system and how he uses the running backs. USC is the school he's most familiar with and he talks with those guys a lot. I think if he had to choose today, that's probably where he would go.
"USC is definitely not a lock though and the official visits will be very important. He's looking forward to seeing what else is out there so he can make a more informed decision. I really think a lot could change when he makes his visits. If he finds a school where the coaches and players make a real good impression and he has a chance to win there, he could be gone because like I said, he's not an L.A guy."
Along with the schools mentioned, Washington, San Diego State and Florida are also high on Lucky's list.