It's been a busy offseason for 's Marcus Newby.
Since last football season ended, the standout linebacker, currently a junior, has spent much of the winter and spring entertaining offers from some of the country's top college football programs — Oklahoma, Nebraska, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Maryland to name a few — making him one of the most highly sought after recruits in QO history. According to Rivals.com, defending national champion Alabama and Ohio State have also shown interest.
But so far, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound Newby is remaining humble and focused. And while the offers have been pouring in, Newby is not letting that detract from his main goal for his upcoming senior season at QO.
"I'm just taking it one-by-one. It's a blessing to have these schools looking at me," Newby said. "But right now, my only focus is to finish where we left off last season and bring a state championship back to Quince Orchard."
Newby said that since to Old Mill last December, he and his teammates have been committed to avenging the bitter loss. So even though the scholarship offers have been nice, Newby isn’t losing sight of his focus for the 2012 season.
"We have been working individually to get better each day since the season ended," said Newby, who began playing football in the seventh grade. "Whether it's in the weight room or conditioning or working out on the field…we're doing whatever it takes to improve."
Maybe "the best player to ever come out of Quince Orchard"
As it relates to playing at the next level, Newby is just hoping to find a place that's a good fit for him and his family and where he can have the opportunity to play.
"I just want to go to a place where I can compete at the next level and contribute," said Newby, a second team Washington Post All-Met selection in 2011.
Newby is, of course, not facing these decisions alone. He has received great support from his coach, Dave Mencarini, who is getting ready to enter his ninth season at Quince Orchard and has helped many former players reach the collegiate ranks — including Bani Gbadyu (Penn State), Travis Hawkins (Maryland and Delaware), Jason Ankrah (Nebraska), Terrence Stephens (Stanford), and Alex Twine (Maryland).
And of all those great players, Newby may stand out among the best.
"He may be the best player to ever come out of Quince Orchard when it's all said and done," Mencarini said in an interview in August 2011 prior to the fall season.
Earlier this week, Mencarini expounded on what makes Newby such a special player.
"He is extremely physical for a guy that can run really well," Mencarini said in a phone interview Tuesday. "He's just relentless. He's the only guy I've ever coached that practices like a college football player. And I've coached some great players over the years. He only knows one speed and that's full."
Working Toward 2012 and Beyond
Mencarini said that no matter where Newby is on the field, he is ready to make a play and that his physical tools coupled with his work ethic make him stand out among his peers.
"He makes plays. If you watch film, you'll see he's always around the ball, disrupting plays -- whether it's forcing a fumble, tackling for a loss, batting down a pass. He's always around the ball. He has exactly what college coaches are looking for. He can hit and he can run. Underneath all that he has such an extreme passion for the game and he's highly competitive."
Mencarini has been very hands-on when it comes to helping Newby make the best decision on where to play in college. As he has with past players, Mencarini has taken an active interest in ensuring Newby weighs all of his options and has everything he needs in order to make an informed decision about his future.
"We're in the phase where we're just gathering information. Coaches are visiting daily. We've taken some trips where we can compare and contrast and really just gather as much information as possible," Mencarini said. "We'll narrow the focus by the end of May and ultimately make a decision based on what's best for Marcus and his family."
No matter where he ends up, Mencarini said that choosing a school with a great academic support system that is as committed to in-the-classroom success as it is on-the-field success will be an integral part of the decision-making process.
As far as the upcoming season is concerned, Mencarini said that he'd like to see Newby continue to take an active leadership role both in the locker room and on the field. But most importantly, he wants Newby to enjoy his senior year in high school.
"He needs to not put any extra pressure on himself and just enjoy his last year as a high school football player," Mencarini said.
Editor's Note: Newby is just one of four rising seniors at Quince Orchard who is entertaining offers from Division I football programs. Fullback Tyrell Williams, defensive end Kieran Gregory and fellow linebacker Carlo St. Regis have all been getting attention from college coaches this offseason. Mencarini said he expects all four to sign Division I letters of intent next year, which the QO coach said is great for the program.