Riverside DT Marcus Downs (6-5 260) has gone from zero to sixty on the recruiting highway the first few months of 2023. He was not a heavily recruited prospect coming off his junior season in November, but then Coastal Carolina coach Jamie Chadwell offered him to join the Chants. When Chadwell moved to Liberty, one of his early offers for the Flames went out to Downs. Others took notice.
“Some schools were just waiting for something to pop up or blow up and they were probably going to offer me, so they were just hanging in there,” Downs said. “When Liberty offered, there were a lot of colleges that were on me. They were interested in me but they didn’t know if they should offer me or not, and when that offer came in from Liberty, my profile just started blowing up more and I just got more offers.”
Now, the offer list for Downs includes Virginia Tech, Auburn, Georgia, Duke, North Carolina, Arkansas, Miami, Cincinnati, Kentucky, LSU, Florida and Tennessee. USC and Clemson have yet to jump on board. The Gamecocks are, however, showing some serious interest. The Tigers, according to Downs, not so much at this point.
Downs visited USC March 18th and met up with defensive line coach Jimmy Lindsey and his student assistant Dru Lindler.
“It went good. Coach Lindsey showed me their techniques and how they play in their drills,” Downs said. “He taught me all that. He’s a cool guy to hang around. When I first got there, Coach Lindler came up to me and hugged me and made me feel like family. I had talked to Coach Lindsey and he made me talk to some of the players. I had a good time.”
The subject of an offer from the Gamecocks did come up during his conversation with Lindsey. Downs said the coach plans to broach the subject with head coach Shane Beamer.
“Obviously, Clemson and South Carolina love to offer in-state dudes late,” Downs surmised. “I’m waiting on an offer, but he said he’s going to talk to Coach Beamer. Before I had all the offers, he wanted me to go to camp, but my offers started coming in, so he said he’s going to talk to Coach Beamer.”
As for why he’s become such a hot defensive tackle prospect in the last few months, Downs said coaches like his overall skill set and the versatility he can bring to the defensive line.
“Georgia Tech (DL) Coach (Marco) Coleman said he loves how I play,” Downs said. :”He feels like my playing fits his team. Some colleges want me to play nose, some colleges want me to play the three, and some colleges want me to play defensive end. He said he likes me at the three, which I prefer. Miami has been going on about how they want me to play for them and how I fit their team with my explosiveness and my hands.”
Downs visited North Carolina Saturday and Georgia earlier in the week. He’s also been to Tennessee and Wake Forest. He will visit Georgia Tech April 1st and Auburn the next day. He plans to drop a top list of 10-12 schools this summer and then wait until around mid-season this fall to make a commitment. There are no favorites at this point.