From the Road: Columbia, S.C., prospects

Jones healthy again

One of the top players in the Columbia, S.C. area is senior four-star cornerback prospect Marquise Jones (Columbia, S.C./Eau Claire). Eau Claire head coach Ronnie Baker was expecting a big year from his senior. But the 6-1 and 180 pounder suffered a concussion in game one and has missed a lot of time.

“He also had a deep thigh bruise, and I only think he has played about two games for us,” Baker said. “It’s been tough, but Marquise is finally healthy.”

In those two games Jones has two interceptions and had seven plus tackles in each game. Offensively, he has 10 receptions playing receiver.

“Marquise has great skills at cornerback,” Baker said. “He’s physical too. He’s the first one to practice and the last one to leave. And now he’s a big time leader for us. He does it all for us and is also our long snapper and returns punts and kicks.”

At this time, Jones has scholarship offers from Vanderbilt, Duke, Marshall, Toledo and South Carolina State. He camped this summer at South Carolina and Duke and unofficially visited Georgia Tech. Teams like the Yellow Jackets and Wolfpack and recruiting him but have not offered yet.

“He’s open with the recruiting process,” Baker said. “I think he will visit Duke and Vandy for sure and probably take his visits after the season.”

Three more seniors to watch for at Columbia

Columbia (S.C.) High School is home to Alabama commitment Casey Gladney. But the Capitols also have a trio of seniors that will have an opportunity to play at the next level in Ky Tyler, Justin Muller and Brandon Shaw.

Tyler, 6-2 and 205 pounds, is the team’s starting quarterback and outside linebacker.

“This kid is very physical,” Kemper Amick, Columbia’s coach, said. “Defensively, he just has that knack for understanding leverage and is a great tackler and can get around blocks. Offensively, he has a great arm and can really make some plays.”

Last season Tyler played both ways at quarterback and defensive end. But putting his hand on the ground took a toll on him so they moved him to linebacker this season. For Tyler it doesn’t matter if he’s the signal caller or a defensive player. He just wants to play ball.

“Most teams like me as an athlete,” Tyler said. “It doesn’t matter to me. As a quarterback, I can get out of trouble and have a really good arm. On defense I am a hitter with good speed. I love to hit and make plays.”

South Carolina, Clemson, Marshall, and Kentucky are some of the teams he says that are showing him interest at this time.

Muller, 6-1 and 175 pounds, is another good defensive player for Columbia. He has the frame of a safety and plays the game with a linebacker mentality.

“He’s our leading tackler,” Amick said. “As a sophomore he played safety for us and this season he’s our middle linebacker. He’s a safety at the next level. Muller has great speed, and he will knock you out. This kid just explodes into the ball carrier. He’s a tremendous player.”

For Muller, he has a simple philosophy toward his game.

“I just read the play and go find the ball,” Muller said. “I just try and go out there and make plays.”

According to Muller, teams like South Carolina, Clemson and Kentucky are recruiting him.

Another player to keep an eye on is Brandon Shaw. Shaw, 6-0 and 170 pounds, plays receiver and in the secondary for Columbia. He’s being recruited by South Carolina State and Wofford.

Columbia also has a junior and a sophomore to watch for in offensive lineman James Works and defensive tackle Antwan Sullivan. Works, 6-4 and 300 pounds, is a recruit in the class of 2013 while Sullivan, 6-2 and 275 pounds, is a member of the class of 2014.

“Works has great feet,” Amick said. “He just needs work and maturity. Sullivan could really develop into a very good player. As a freshman he ran 5.2 (forty) and won the heavyweight division in our regional strength meet.”

Two juniors at Nathan Ford

Fort Mill (S.C.) Nathan Ford High School is the home of 2012 Clemson commitment Jay Jay McCullough. They are also the home of two junior prospects in Dijuan Ussery and Daniel Parker. Ussery, 6-1 and 165 pounds, is one of the state’s fastest players. Parker, 5-7 and 200 pounds, is a compact running back.

“Dijuan can fly,” Michael Allen, Nathan Ford’s coach, said. “He’s a 4.3 kid and one of the better track kids in this state. He runs the 100, 200 and all the relays. He can also really catch the football. Jackson is an Emmitt Smith type of back that can really run and is a load to bring down. Both those kids have a real chance.”

Both Ussery and Parker have put up some impressive numbers in seven games this season. Ussery has 27 receptions for 564 yards and eight touchdowns while Parker has rushed for 795 yards (125 carries) and eight touchdowns.