Louisville recruit flirts with the SEC

Malik Staples (Charles Kingsbury/AJC)

Malik Staples (Charles Kingsbury/AJC)

Malik Staples, a 3-star athlete from Peachtree Ridge High School, has been committed to Louisville since June. But could he be wavering on his engagement?

“I’m still open in my recruitment right now,” Staples told the AJC on Thursday. “At the end of the day, I have to find out what’s best for me. I haven’t seen all the schools I’ve wanted and I haven’t gotten offers from all the schools I see great potential in.”

“But I think I’m a solid commit as well.”

Staples is speaking specifically about a few potential SEC programs, most notably Florida. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound athlete, who plays a great deal at running back for Peachtree Ridge, says he’s visited Florida on a couple of occasions.

“I’ve been there a few times, and it’s just beautiful down there,” Staples said. “And I understand why they call it the Swamp. I loved it. Everything about it.”

But Florida isn’t the only SEC school he’s keeping his eye out for. Staples says he’s still awaiting word from LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina and UGA.

“I’m starting to hear from a lot of SEC schools,” Staples said. “I guess they want to see the first few games. I mean, they’ve been recruiting me, but ever since I committed to Louisville, it’s like the process sped up for them. Now, they want to talk to me, and hopefully an offer comes soon from some of these schools.”

Staples, the No. 83 athlete in the country, says that while he’s also considering other programs, he’s still very much loyal to Louisville. He told the AJC that he’s optimistic about his potential role in the Cardinals offense, one that would find him early playing time as a running back in a four-man rotation.

“When I get there, I have to be ready and get ready, because I’m going to play,” Staples said.

Aside from playing time, Staples has another potential reason for remaining committed to Louisville. His teammate, Baylen Buchanan, is also committed to the Cardinals. Baylen’s father, Ray, played cornerback for Louisville, and the two have been close friends since they were six years old.

“We’re like blood brothers now,” Staples said. “Just for us to commit at the same school, I think we may stick it out.”


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