"Our offense laid an egg," said a dejected Marcus Mayers when recalling the huge upset loss. "Our defense forced a couple of turnovers but our offense did not know what was going on. I hate that because they had been really clicking until that game. You just have to tip your hat to Lumberton. They executed to perfection all night long and beat us 18-6."
Darius Holder, Lumberton's do-it-all offensive player, impressed Marcus.
"He was pretty good. He did not do anything against us in the first quarter but he made a lot of plays with his legs and arms after that. He competes really hard."
Obviously Mayers did not meet his ultimate team goal which was to win the state championship after coming ever so close the three prior years, but Marcus feels like progress was made.
"I wanted to become more physical and fast. I think I achieved those goals. I wanted to go undefeated, and we had it going until we lost in the playoffs. Now I am just trying to get stronger. That's my main goal from here until I report to Ole Miss."
Mayers was reported at 212 pounds going into his senior season but has gained some much needed weight recently.
"I am at 227 right now. I want to be 230 when I get to Ole Miss. I want to be able to bench 300 before I report (to Ole Miss). After a year in their weight program I would like to get to 245 by the start of my sophomore season."
Coach Bud Blackledge of Taylorsville believes speed and hitting are the strengths for his four-year starter who finished his career with over 200 tackles for THS.
"Marcus can really run," added Coach Blackledge after one of the Mississippi/Alabama All-Star practices that he coached in. "His hips are real good. He can stop and get going again in a hurry. He will strike you too."
The Taylorsville head coach believes added strength should be Marcus' focus for the next level.
"His strength level is going to have to improve as it does for every high school kid going on to the next level but especially in the SEC. He will have to go through those freshmen adjustments from high school to college. The main thing you hope for with these kids going to college is just hanging out with the right crowd. It's the first time away from their support group and sometimes these young men get mixed in with the wrong crowd, and Marcus like the rest of them, has to make sure he does not do that. He needs to be going to class and being around the right people but I am sure Coach (Tyrone) Nix will be watching him closesly."
Coach Nix and Ole Miss' depth chart were the main factors in Mayers picking Ole Miss according to Bud.
"The bottom line is that Marcus developed a relationship real quick with Coach Nix and that has a lot to do with every recruit's decision. He also did a lot of research and saw who they had coming back and who they did not. He saw he could play pretty quickly if he went to Ole Miss."
Coach Tyrone Nix at Ole Miss has been staying by Marcus' side throughout the recruiting process.
"He comes by here every week," added Mayers. "Coach Nix ate at our house this past Tuesday, and we ate some turnip greens and meatloaf, some of my grandmother's best cooking. He couldn't stop eating (laugh). We just went over my official visit and things like that. I am going up there on the 21st (of January) with the rest of the guys. It's going to be a lot of fun. Me and Donte Moncrief are going to be visiting the same weekend. All of our commits are pretty much coming up that weekend"
Marcus has a few things he wants to accomplish next fall at Ole Miss.
"I am going to report to Ole Miss at the end of May. I need to get bigger
and stronger so I can get some playing time as a freshman. I am more of an athlete
than anything else but they still see me at linebacker. Coach (Ty) Nix asked
me if I watched the Egg Bowl and I told him I did. He said, did you see our
linebackers play? I was like, yeah, I saw it. He said, we ain't hiding nobody.
We got to have you come in next year ready to play. I was like, hey coach, I
am ready. Just give me an opportunity and that's all I ask. They really do need
some help at LB next year, and I see some doors open."
Why did Marcus choose Ole Miss in the end?
"At the end of the day I just wanted to be coached by Coach (Ty) Nix. That's it, really. He is the biggest reason I chose Ole Miss. I just want him to coach me on the next level. I love his attacking style of defense, and I think OM is going to rebound next year and shock some people."
While some commitments are still testing the waters by taking visits and hosting visitors in their household, Mayers has seen enough.
"I am not even taking calls anymore. Unless I see 662 (area code) on it, I do not even pick it up. I've already made up my mind for good."
Marcus finished his senior season 54 tackles, 13 for losses, 3.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and recovered 3 fumbles despite battling a high ankle sprain for much of the season. This past Saturday he participated in the Mississippi North/South contest and he led the South's defense in tackles with 9 and also had two QB hurries.
Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org