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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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Page 43 of 88

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 44 Purdue needs help right away on the defensive line and Marks' physical strength and the fact he enrolled early might make him the best bet of all the freshmen to crack the depth chart. That being said, it's never easy for a player or ideal for a program to be running 18-year- olds out there on either line, but that might be the Boilermakers' reality right now. Height: 6-3 Weight: 255 High School: Davidson Hometown: Mobile, Ala. Senior Stats: 38 tackles, seven sacks J eff Marks got Jeff Brohm's attention. The defensive lineman's handshake — Brohm noted the grip during the December signing day press conference — was firm, the kind that might make a person hesitate a bit on the second encounter. It led Brohm to think of the 6-foot-3, 255-pounder from Mobile as "country strong." "I take that as a compliment," Marks said. "I guess he says that because of my handshake when he first met me. I don't consider myself the strongest guy around, but certain things; they say I've got a pretty good handshake." And they have other compliments certainly. Brohm thinks Purdue got an "un- der-the-radar" player when Marks committed shortly after his visit and shortly before the December signing date. He chose the Boilermakers over finalist Southern Miss, along with Wake Forest and Louisiana-Lafayette. Others were interested too, but Marks had made a priority of enrolling early, and that was an option in West Lafayette. Marks, who will start out as a defensive end at Purdue but could grow into a tackle, came into football later than most, picking it up at the start of his freshman year at Davidson. But he didn't fall in love with it until a year later, but when he did, he fell hard. He loves training in the offseason in particular, when the real hours are put in to get better. "After so long of just (working and working), it became normal," Marks said just before arriving at Purdue in Janu- ary. "You didn't even notice that you were coming in so early to work out. You didn't notice that you were still practic- ing when the lights were on and it was dark. You didn't notice it was 8 o'clock until you were getting in the car to go home." The Purdue Fit Did You Know? Marks is the first football player from his school to pick a Big Ten school in the last 15 years. Jeff Marks Defensive end "Marks is kind of that tweener that may be best at the five-technique starting out his college career. He was very effective there in an odd man front for his high school. He used power to drive offensive linemen back- wards and he could be a steal for the Boiler- makers when we look back on these rankings in a few years. He was not well known in south Alabama, so not many saw him live, but he has a nice frame, he is strong and he plays with energy." — Southeast analyst Chad Simmons take Action photo by Tom Campbell

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