June 4, 2008

The nation's No.1 DT talks about recruiting

The world is waiting on Lufkin defensive Jamarkus McFarland and he knows it.

As a five-star prospect and the Lone Star State's No.1 overall player, McFarland is more than just a college football prospect. The truth of the matter is that he might just be the best defensive tackle that the state of Texas has produced in a decade.

With that kind of notoriety comes a lot of pressure, oftentimes more than a mere teenager should have to endure.

Yet as prospects from around the state continue to make their college decisions, McFarland is trying to slow things down to a degree. Whether fans of recruiting like it or not, McFarland has made the call to work the recruiting process at his own pace and on his own terms.

"I'm just taking my time and trying make the best decision for myself," McFarland said. "I'm not letting it overwhelm me. I'm 17 years old and stress is the last thing I need right now. All of this really is a blessing because if you stay healthy, you're going to have a bright future. If nothing else, you're at least going to get a good education. It's hard to just narrow it down to a few. Everyone likes to tell me that I should do this or that, or is they were me they'd go to this school or that school, but they should try walking in my shoes before they say that because it's not as easy as it sounds."

At this point the teams remain the same. Texas, LSU and Oklahoma are all in the mix for sure, with the Longhorns and Tigers carrying the flag as the favorites in early June. McFarland has stated in the past that he'd like to take some unofficial visits in the fall to his favorite schools before he makes a decision.

However, if you want to know exactly when the envelope with the decision is going to be turned in, you're going to be disappointed.

"I'm not sure," McFarland said. "I don't want people to think I'm doing this for the attention. I hate people that think I'm doing this for attention because that is the last thing on my mind. I could care less about the Internet and magazines. I want to make sure I make the right choice for myself. Some people think I should make a decision before the season, but it's hard."

While there are a number of factors that will go into his decision, McFarland acknowledged that his final decision won't be based on who has the highest-rated academic program or who might have the most impressive trophy collection.

"I'm focusing myself on the coaches and the talking to some of the players, so that I can really get to know them," McFarland said. "All the teams are good, so I'm looking at things outside of that. As far as being on the team and finding a team that I can call my brothers, that is what I'm looking for. Every school is going to have good academic programs. I'm not basing it on national championships and titles. That's all good and gravy, but it's about who plays well together. I want to go to a place where I can call the players that are there my family, my brothers."

With McFarland's junior year in high school complete, several schools like Texas and LSU are hoping to get McFarland to their upcoming summer camps, but it appears that making any camp might prove to be a challenge.

"I'm not sure if I'm going (to make them)," McFarland said. "I'm invited to the Texas one this coming Sunday, but I'm not sure if I'm going to make it, as far as getting there and back. I'm taking college courses this summer and they go Monday through Thursday and they start very early in the morning. I'm going to try and get that in, but I'm not sure because of my schedule.

"Right now I just want to focus on being the best high school player I can be and I want to help my team this season. I'm not ready for college yet. When I get there, I'll be ready, but for right now I want to focus on playing my senior season."

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