Marquez Callaway loves UGA. That was the first school to offer the 4-star athlete from Warner Robins. But his recruitment could offer more changes of direction than he does taking a bubble screen 60 yards for a touchdown.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder loves football, but said he’s “crazy in love” with basketball. UGA basketball coach Mark Fox could likely earn his commitment faster than Mark Richt.
What will he play in college? The rising senior wouldn’t need a scholarship if he had a dollar for every time he’s heard that.
“I’ve been asked that question three times today,” Callaway said. “I’d prefer to play basketball in college, but a lot of the big schools have offered in football but not basketball. There are just some of the smaller schools recruiting me in basketball. … I’m probably going to go play football in college if those basketball scholarships don’t work out.”
Callaway is an All-State player on the basketball court who averages around 20 points per game. Yet he knows there’s a lot of former guards his size playing big-time SEC football. According to the 247sports composite, he’s rated as the nation’s No. 108 player and the 11th-best senior in Georgia.
He made a few visits this summer for football, but hasn’t been to a campus since mid-June. He didn’t attend any prospect camps to boost his stock, but he’s still regarded as the nation’s No. 9 athlete.
UGA tight ends coach John Lilly is recruiting him for the Bulldogs. He was offered as a safety, but prefers to play cornerback in college. That’s what UGA is recruiting him to play. Callaway told the AJC on Tuesday that UGA “will all but surely” get an official visit.
“I’ve got a couple of good friends that go to Georgia who tell me how good things are there for a student,” he said. “They always tell me how great things are without pushing it on me. They tell me how things go for students in the classroom. They don’t play football there and then UGA is also the in-state school so I’d get a lot of support from my friends and family at home if I went there.”
The Army All-American Bowl selection is so underexposed to the SEC recruiting machines he didn’t even know that National Signing Day was in February. He will play basketball as a senior and will not enroll early.
Auburn, UGA and Tennessee have all offered him the ability to play both sports in college, but even Callaway realizes that won’t last for long.
“I know I am going to have to give up basketball sooner or later but I am trying not to think about it right now,” said Callaway, who wants to be a Criminal Justice major in college.
He’d also rather play offense in college. Callaway is a very talented receiver who enjoys returning kicks. He said Tennessee assistant Zach Azzanni offered him as a receiver.
“Tennessee told me that after I graduate they will lose three receivers,” he said. ‘They said there’s a real good chance I could come in as a true freshman and play a lot and even start.”
Auburn also offered him at receiver. He said that Florida State, Miami and Notre Dame were the other top candidates for his official visits, but that Auburn, Florida and South Carolina were also in the mix.
“The schools that I don’t go to on my official visits I know I will need to go back to on an unofficial visit,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of places to check out and see before I make my decision.”
Warner Robins coach Bryan Way said Callaway has been offered by basically the entire SEC.
“He really likes Georgia and thinks a lot of Coach (John) Lilly and Coach (Mark) Richt,” Way said.
“He’s a very personable kid and who likes everybody. Everybody likes him. He told me that his Top 5 right now was Georgia, Auburn, Tennessee, South Carolina and Florida State. I know a lot of that can change, but I think what he is looking for with a school is where he feels the most comfortable with the players and the coaches.”
Alabama also intrigues Callaway, but he said he’ll need to see that campus to believe everything he’s heard about Tuscaloosa. Way told the AJC that Callaway also visited Mississippi State, Notre Dame and Tennessee this summer.
“I really liked that Notre Dame visit,” Callaway said. “The education stands out and I met some other recruits and players up there that treated me differently than all the other schools I have been too. It just felt like a totally different place than any other school.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.