The move to junior college football is paying huge dividends for Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College linebacker Martrell Spaight, who originally signed to play at Division II Southern Arkansas out of high school but opted for the junior college route to get to a higher division.
He made an official visit to Ohio State over the weekend, and will make one to Rutgers late this week to watch the Scarlet Knights host Louisville, with the winner heading to a BCS bowl.
“They’ve been on me pretty hard lately, and saying how they really need linebackers,” Spaight said of Rutgers. “I believe one or two linebackers may be going to the NFL, and they tell me to do my job and do my business and I can get that starting job. I know it’s going to be tough and a fight, but I have a chance to be a starting linebacker and make an immediate impact.”
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Spaight also has an official visit to Kansas State planned for the Dec. 7, and he could visit either South Florida or West Virginia.
However, his focus is now on the Rutgers visit, which will begin Thursday morning and end 48 hours later.
“I’ve been talking to (linebackers) coach (Dave Cohen), and he’s been telling me about the type of players they have and what the program is based on,” Spaight said. “He told me a little bit about the business program they have at the school, and how they are ranked in graduating people from Rutgers.
“What I expect to get out of the visit is to see how it compares to Ohio State, and just get a feel for things and see if it feels like home and if I can see myself playing there in college.”
Rutgers’ move to the Big Ten could also be a factor in Spaight’s decision.
A date has not yet been announced for the move, but the 2014 season is an option. After graduating in December, Spaight will have three years to play two seasons, which means he could red-shirt in 2013 and play two seasons in the Big Ten.
“I feel that’s a pretty big deal,” Spaight said. “You’re going to another conference and you get more exposure and you’re playing against more competition, so it brings out the best in you. I will look into the atmosphere and just get a feel for things, and see how I feel about playing there.”
The Ohio State visit made a big impression with Spaight, but it did not result in an offer. One could come next month, after his final grades are posted.
“I can tell (Ohio State) coach (Urban) Meyer has a real good sense of humor, but at the same time he’s a real intense guy who will go about his business,” Spaight said. “He will have a fun time, but at the same time everything is a business. He’s a real cool guy. He’s a great coach. I can tell. You can tell the type of players they have …they all play together as a family and a unit and they came out 12-0.”
Spaight’s other scheduled official visit will be to Kansas State, which recently offered.
“I don’t know too much about them,” he said. “I can look and see that they’re a family and they play as a group. Seeing how far they got this year, 11-1, they really impressed me.”
South Florida and West Virginia are also on his radar, and he could visit one of the schools Dec. 14-16, but he is not sure if that will take place.
“To be honest, I’m not really sure about either one of those schools,” Spaight said. “I look at West Virginia and saw some of their games (early in the season) and they were doing pretty good, but then there was a drop off. South Florida, I don’t know too much about them.
“I have to do a little more research on both of those schools before I decide to visit.”