Like many university-bound high-schoolers, Nevada Union’s Austin Marks didn’t take his choice of college lightly.
The standout tight end and defensive end on the NU football team labored while deciding between two schools. Sacramento State offered Marks a walk-on spot on its football team, and Stetson University, located in DeLand, Fla., offered him scholarship money and the possibility of early playing time.
“Part of me wanted to stay close to home,” Marks said. “And another part of me wanted to be adventurous.”
Marks said he weighed all his options and that the decision-making process was difficult.
“It was a really stressful time for my family and me,” he said.
That stress has now been relieved as the 6-foot, 5-inch senior put pen to paper Wednesday and signed a national letter of intent to play for the Stetson Hatters next season.
“When I went for an official visit, it was really fun, the coaches were nice, and I felt welcomed and wanted,” he said.
The Hatters are returning football to their athletic program in 2013 and will be led by former Princeton head coach Roger Hughes.
“I really wanted to be a part of that,” Marks said of joining a previously dormant football team. “Under coach (Dave) Humphers, I’ve learned leadership and what kind of work ethic is required to succeed.”
In his senior year at Nevada Union, Marks caught 25 passes for 395 yards and four touchdowns. As a defensive end, he tallied 59 tackles, two sacks and an interception.
“I am very happy for Austin,” Nevada Union head football coach Humphers said. “I’m proud of him. He has seen the reward for all of his hard work and dedication in the classroom and as a football player. Stetson is very fortunate to be getting an outstanding football player and such a fine young man.”
Marks said he was given the choice of outside linebacker or tight end when he plays for Stetson, and he has chosen to play tight end.
Marks also cited Stetson’s high academic prowess and small class sizes as reasons for choosing the Hatters over the Hornets.
With Wednesday’s signing, Marks becomes the third Miner to sign with a Division I school, albeit D-IAA.
Linebackers Tanner Vallejo and Cole Hannum signed national letters of intent to attend Boise State and Sacramento State, respectively, earlier this year.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.