April 4, 2012
JUCO defensive tackle planning return trip to Ole Miss
Two years ago, Marquel Combs finished his high school football career.
No college programs showed even a hint of interest.
Combs, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound defensive tackle, wasn't ready to give up his dream.
Instead, he enrolled at North Georgia College Prep, where he spent one semester before leaving for Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College. When there was a coaching change at Fort Scott, Combs transferred to Pierce (Calif.) Community College.
Then everything came together. Combs had a huge season, and colleges from all over have come calling.
"Junior college separates the boys from the men," Combs said. "You have to be mentally ready and mentally focused. You have to be disciplined and you have to make big plays. That's how you get out. I've made some big plays and I guess I'm reaping the benefits. It's taught me a lot and helped me a lot."
Combs has picked up scholarship offers from almost 20 programs, including Ole Miss, Arkansas and Mississippi State.
"I had the desire to be something and get out of the streets of Memphis," Combs said. "I'm just blessed to have this opportunity, really.
"I have to think about it every day and thank God every morning. I'm very excited I have the opportunity. It's a blessing from the Lord. I just take it as that. I feel that it's real and I like it a lot."
Combs recently took an unofficial visit to Ole Miss. He'll make a return trip to Oxford on April 20 for the Rebels' annual Grove Bowl.
"My first visit was cool. I liked Coach (Hugh) Freeze and Coach (Chris) Kiffin," Combs said. "I love the coaching staff. My mom and some other family went down last weekend to visit. They said they loved it. We'll just see where it goes from here. "
Getting close to home is "really a big factor, but it won't play a big role in my decision," Combs said. "I want my family to see me play, but I want to be in the best situation as possible for me. Right now, I don't know yet. It's 50-50 playing between close to the house and away from the house."
Ole Miss, Combs said, told him it hey "could use me as very different things. They tell me I could come in and be an impact player on their defensive line and fit in well with the guys that are coming in.
"Winning is one of the things I want to do when I get to my next school. I feel like if I go to Ole Miss, I can help them win a lot more games."
Combs said he's not in "too big of a rush" to make a decision, "but whenever I feel the time is right, I might just put it on Facebook or Twitter."
Combs will have three years to complete two years of eligibility at his school of choice.
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