Wednesday, May 7, 2008

UM Who to Watch 2008: QB Robert Marve

As you see below, UM football, even at this time of year, is a story that South Florida sports fans want to hear more of. As a "man of the people" and ardent democrat (small "d"), I must oblige Average South Florida Joe and commence a series chronicling the most exciting potential lights of the 2008 season, and I begin the installment with quarterback Robert Marve.

No, Robert Marve has not locked down the starting job, but heading into fall practices he will doubtless be one of the hottest stories in Coral Gables as he competes with fellow freshmen Jacory Harris, Taylor Cook, and Cannon Smith for the starting quarterback position in Miami. He comes in with an enormous amount of hype, having won the designation of Florida's high school Mr. Football in 2006, setting state single-season records for passing yards (4,380), touchdowns (48), and completions (280) and leading Tampa's Plant High School to the 4-A championship, completing 30 of 46 passes for 305 yards and 3 TD's in the title game.

I watched that 2006 state championship game, and what I saw struck me. He possessed more "cool" than any high school quarterback I had ever seen. In fact, he was almost recklessly confident, nearly goading defensive linemen and linebackers to get as close to him as possible before launching one 40 yards and hitting his receiver between the numbers, then talking to the defenders about it. He was a scintillating passer on the run, and his mobility was impressive. UM receivers that have been working with him during the past year have noted that the footballs he throws hurt their hands. He is also an unparalleled student of the game, staying up nights watching film and pestering offensive coordinator Patrick Nix all the time, trying to get things right.

Marve will face stiff competition in the fall by none other than 2007 Mr. Football in Florida Jacory Harris, who led his Northwestern Bulls to two state championships and one national championship playing 6-A ball against some of the toughest competition any South Florida team has had to face (see Harris' cool dismantling of #1 Texas Southlake Carroll last year). But Marve's arm strength, accuracy, work ethic, pocket cool, and moxy make him as good a candidate as any to be the next starting quarterback at the U.

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