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July 2, 2001

Marcus Vick: The Next Coming

The similarities to his brother Michael are striking

The similarities to his brother Michael are striking. Both are reserved. Modest. Self-confident. Soft-spoken.

Oh, and like his older brother Michael, Marcus Vick can play a little quarterback, too.

But family comparisons aside, Marcus Vick would receive plenty of accolades and recruiting overtures, anyway. Those things should be expected when you're 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, and can throw a perfect spiral about 60 yards as a 17-year-old high school player.

The younger Vick is a rising senior at Warwick (Newport News) High, where his diverse talents caused fits for opposing Peninsula District defenses last year. In 2000, Vick tallied roughly 2,100 yards and 20 touchdowns passing to go along with more than 600 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing. The Raiders finished 8-2, the school's best finish in over a decade. Not bad for Vicks first year as a varsity signal-caller.

Vick has always been a talented QB, but he did not start there in his first year on the varsity team. Vick started at wide receiver for the Raiders in 1999, his sophomore year. Dontrell Leonard, now on scholarship at Division I-AA Norfolk State, started at quarterback in 1999 after waiting his turn as Michael Vick's backup the year before.

"That was just a coach's decision to have a player wait his turn," Reamon said. "And I told Marcus why I was doing it. Leonard was a senior and came here wanting a football scholarship like the rest of them, and he got it."

So Vick waited his turn as the senior Leonard guided Warwick to a 6-4 record in 1999. How did Vick take to playing wideout? How do twenty-five catches for over 500 yards and seven touchdowns sound?

After Leonard graduated, Vicks transition back to quarterback was seamless. He displayed the knack to chip away at defenses with short- to medium-length passing plays over the middle, but also showed the arm strength and the touch to throw the deep ball.

And, like his brother, if his receivers were covered and the defense mounted a pass rush, Vick knew to tuck the ball in and show off his speed and elusiveness.

Physical gifts aside, Vick has also impressed Reamon and his college suitors with his passing accuracy and decision-making. Witness his 60-plus percent completion rate and 2-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Reamon altered the Raiders offense last year to use his quarterbacks many talents, putting more pressure on opposing defenses. The system, which is fast-paced and uses spread offensive formations, suits Vick to a tee. Reamon intends to utilize the same run-and-shoot type offense this season.

"Coach Reamon has helped me a lot," Vick said. "He makes things basic for me so I'm confident with whats going on."

Reamon sees another benefit from the system he runs. "Thats whats good about our offensive system," Reamon said. "With our formations, we look specifically like many of the colleges [that are recruiting Vick]. They see him making throws in certain situations, and they can picture him playing for them."

Apparently many colleges can picture Vick playing quarterback for them. This spring was a whirlwind for Reamon and Vick as college after college made its pitch to the Warwick star. Reamon and Vick estimate that the quarterback had visits from 30 colleges during the spring, all of which have offered Vick a scholarship. The list of colleges is a who's who among NCAA powerhouses; Florida, Florida State, Miami and Tennessee are among them.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Reamon.

"It got pretty tiring," Vick said. "There were lots of visits and phone calls. The coaches just told me to keep a clear head and stay injury-free my senior year."

One question Reamon has already been asked, and figures to be asked much more, is to compare the Vick brothers. With their looks, personality and skills seemingly so much alike, how does Reamon compare Marcus to Michael at the same stage of their development?

"Marcus is more poised and more intelligent in the scheme that we run," Reamon said. "It's just like a parent raising children: The younger learns from how the older was raised, whether it was good, bad or ugly.

"[Marcus] is more aware of defensive systems, he's better with accuracy, knows a little better what touch to put on different passes….he's just a complete quarterback."

Vick lists Miami, Georgia, Tennessee, Clemson and Virginia as his top five college choices, in no particular order. He said that the schools' offensive schemes played a significant role in his narrowing his list down to those five.

Vick has also benefited from Reamon's focus on academics. With his 2.2 GPA and 1090 score on the SAT, Vick is already a full NCAA academic qualifier.

With his academic situation taken care of and a college choice months away, Vick has turned his attention to his senior year. During the summer, he will hit the weight room with his teammates, where Vick sports a solid 265-pound max bench press. The Raiders are also participating in a 7-on-7 passing league in Chesapeake with many Southeastern District High Schools. From what he sees so far, Vick predicts big things for Warwick in 2001.

"I hope we can go 10-0 or 9-1," Vick said.

Warwick will have a very talented team this year, led by Vick and another senior, wideout Brenden Hill. Hill was second in the district in receiving last year as a tight end, but will move to receiver this year. Vick is also high on junior Carlos Wyche and sophomore Larry Taylor, two speedy receiving targets.

Like many of the top Peninsula District quarterbacks in recent years, Vick will play both ways this year. He will line up at free safety, as he did last year. Reamon calls this a necessity because Vick is the most athletic player on the team. But when he is not tackling a running back or defending wide receivers, Vick will concentrate on leaving his own legacy at quarterback. As it is, he is clearly the best quarterback to play in the Peninsula District since, well, his brother and Ronald Curry graduated in 1998.

Vick expects improvement from himself over last seasons performance. "I think I will be better at looking defenses over, and I think my passing accuracy will be better."

With the talented and determined Vick leading the way, is this the year Warwick makes its first playoff appearance under Reamon? "I hope so," Vick said. "If not this year, then never."

Editor's Note: Be sure to check back for Matt's interview with Brenden Hill, wide receiver with Warwick, a favorite on field target of Marcus Vick, who is being heavily recruited as well.

Matt is a part-time journalist for the Daily Press in Newport News, Va., and is a regular contributor to Virginiapreps. He is a rising junior at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, where he will be the sports editor for the student paper, the Mace & Crown, this fall. You can reach him by email at [email protected].

Other articles published on VirginiaPreps written by Matt include:

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