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Sanders "Marshalls" his first offer

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By Travis Jenkins

Something interesting happened as a parade of high-profile college coaches came to Lewisville High School to recruit coveted defensive tackle Josh Belk…they learned he wasn’t the only Division I athlete on campus.

That was proven earlier this week when junior Quentin Sanders received a verbal offer from Marshall. Thundering Herd assistant Cornell Brown handles recruiting in this area and obviously knows talent when he sees it, having himself been an All-American at Virginia Tech and a Super Bowl Champion with the Baltimore Ravens. Marshall has not seen Sanders in person, having been impressed enough with him through film evaluation to call and make him a scholarship offer.

Sanders, a multi-sport standout who plays basketball and baseball for the Lions, was a big-time contributor on the gridiron last fall, helping Lewisville to the third round of the playoffs (and its first playoff win period since 2005). Sometimes playing running back and sometimes lining up under center in the team’s single-wing package, Sanders ran for 1,147 yards and 15 touchdowns, but also had more than 500 yards receiving and four more scores. Lions Coach Will Mitchell said getting a first big-time offer is significant because of what it represents, but also because of what it leads to.

“It’s a really good thing. One of the first questions coaches ask when they see a kid they like is ‘Who else has offered him?’ Now we can answer ‘Marshall,’” Mitchell said.

Mitchell saw first-hand last year how an athlete getting his first big-time offer is essentially like a first domino being knocked over. Belk’s first Division I offer came from the University of South Carolina during a Gamecocks camp last summer. Word circulated quickly on social media and as Mitchell drove Belk and some teammates home from Columbia, LSU called and made an offer, basically sight unseen. Many others followed in rapid-fire succession. Mitchell said other players have taken notice of what’s happened with their teammate and that it has inspired them.

“It’s shown them what can happen if you work hard, do the right things and stick with the process. Really what it does is validates all the work they put in,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said Marshall has a great program, playing in bowl games most every year and playing in Conference USA, which he called the best non-power five league in the country.

Sanders has definitely subscribed to the theory that hard work pays off. Mitchell said Sanders has completely committed himself to the weight room and has reaped the benefits, putting on 10 to 15 pounds since football season ended. Sanders is nearly six feet tall and now weighs in at a solid 175.

Mitchell expects more offers are coming for Sanders and other players. He said several Division I schools have been through that like both Sanders and teammate Mikial Fourney. Some underclassmen are garnering attention as well.

Mitchell expects that Sanders will play defensive back or slot receiver at the college level.