Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Saturday, January 25, 2014

By Sammy Batten

'Air Raid' adds another weapon

Markell Boston the latest in East Coweta's long line of college and pro prospects

By Sammy Batten
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Take a stroll around the weight room at East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg, GA,, and you'll see photographs featuring the Indians' greatest football players hanging on the walls.

There's Keith Brooking, Class of 1994, who went on to star as a linebacker for Georgia Tech between 1994-97 and later spent 13 years playing in the National Football League.

Karsten Bailey, Class of 1995, played wide receiver at Auburn from 1995-98 before moving on to the NFL's Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.

And there's Class of 1998 safety Chris Young, the former team captain at Georgia Tech and former Denver Bronco.

It's a prestigious Wall of Honor that Clint Wade believes one day may also feature Markell Boston.

Wade has coached many of the greats at East Coweta over a 22-year career, the last six of which he's been the head coach. He announced his departure from that position in December after a 5-6 finish, but not before helping develop Boston into one of the area's premier players.

A wide receiver and free safety for the Indians, Boston became a member of East Carolina's recruiting Class of 2014 during an official visit to Greenville last weekend.

"I guess they (ECU) locked in on him last summer,'' Wade said of Boston's pledge to the Pirates. "Then with him going up there to see them play and for a visit, I just think he felt comfortable. He and his Mom went a lot of other places, but felt East Carolina was the best.''

Mississippi State, Liberty, N.C. A&T, South Alabama, Texas Southern and Western Kentucky also offered scholarships to the 6-foot-1, 198-pounder, who is expected to become a full-time wide receiver with the Pirates.

That's the position where Boston first made a name for himself after making the East Coweta varsity as a sophomore. He caught 22 passes that season and made a single touchdown reception, but that lone score propelled him into prominence in Coweta County, which is situated just South of Atlanta.

The Indians had lost eight straight games to county rival Newnan entering their regular-season finale in 2011. They trailed 19-0 at halftime, but mounted a second-half rally to pull within 25-21 in the fourth period. Boston stepped up to haul in a 40-yard touchdown pass to beat Newnan, 28-25.

The play came as no surprise to Wade, who had been watching Boston play since his middle school days.

"We knew he had talent and we knew he'd grow into a pretty good football player,'' Wade said. "He played on the varsity in the ninth grade, but he started as a sophomore. We started him out at wide receiver and eventually worked him in at other positions. We used him on both sides of the ball and on kickoff returns and punt returns. He was well rounded in that regard.

"He absolutely didn't get much time as a senior. We'd give him a shot of water and send him back out there. When the ball was snapped, we wanted him on the field.''

Boston followed up with 29 catches and another touchdown pass as a junior before blossoming into an all-star player during his senior year. He was named the defensive player of the year for Georgia's Region 3-AAAA after making 87 tackles and returning two interceptions for touchdowns from his free safety position.

The highlight of Boston's season may have come against Lovejoy High when he caught two touchdown passes and returned an interception for a touchdown. Boston also haunted Newnan for a second straight year by forcing a fumble late that helped East Coweta clinch a first-round playoff game at home.

"You know, I'm a defensive guy,'' Wade said. "I think he could be a really great free safety in college. He's very similar as a wide receiver to Bailey and as a safety he's a lot like Young. Both those guys played various positions for us and went on to college and the pros.''

The Pirates, however, have recruited Boston to play wide receiver, which is always a recruiting priority for ECU's "Air Raid'' offense. He becomes the fifth potential receiver prospect to make a verbal commitment to the Class of 2014, joining Stephen Baggett from Beaufort, SC, Curtis Burston of Apex, NC, Quay Johnson of Knightdale, NC, and Dre Massey from Mauldin, SC.

Wade is confident Boston has the skills to make a quick impact at that position, too.

"It'll take a little grooming with him, but he can make an impact quickly in my mind,'' Wade said. "He doesn't have exceptional speed (4.5 in 40-yard dash), but he's good enough to get open. And the thing about him is, after he makes the catch he's going to make something happen. He excels at making yards after the catch.

"I think one reason he chose East Carolina is he felt like he'd have an opportunity to play there pretty quick.''

Whether he plays early or not, Boston will be wearing the same colors next fall. The school colors for East Coweta are the same as East Carolina's purple and gold.

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01/25/2014 02:19 AM