Michigan has a new mantra on offense — "speed in space" — and no recruit in the Midwest embodies that more than running back Marcellus Moore.
The Plainfield (Ill.) North star has removed any doubt that he is the fastest player in the region, and one of the fastest in the country. His 10.31 in the 100-meter dash last spring won him the state title. His 4.35 (laser-timed) at The Opening Regional in St. Louis was the fastest at any of the 10 regionals so far this year.
The Wolverines offered the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Moore the week after that event.
There is a connection to Michigan. Moore said two of the most influential people in his athletic life are legendary track coach Tom Boatright of the Aurora Flyers, and former Michigan cornerback Todd Howard.
“I first coached Marcellus about 10 years ago in youth ball,” Howard said. “We had a really solid squad that year. We kept in touch and get together when we can when he has free time and train. Last year, he played on my 7-on-7. With his hectic schedule, it’s tough for him in the offseason to do that again, but he’s a pleasure to work with and just a really good kid.”
When Howard coached Moore, he was already fast. With Boatright’s help, he got even faster. Moore is being recruited for track as well, but wanted to show he was not just a track kid, but a football player also. He did that as a junior, showing receiving skills and tackle-breaking ability in addition to those home-run hitting wheels.
“That’s the thing, ‘football speed’ gets thrown around a lot,” Howard said. “And when you put that in terms of somebody like Marcellus, who has world-class speed, when individuals are that fast, it’s hard to manipulate that speed. Fast guys can get in trouble because they are too fast, so through working together, my thing was to teach fast guys like him how to shift gears and not always be in top-end and have proper footwork in and out of breaks. And his feet are as clean as anybody’s, and he can accelerate as fast as anybody in the country.”
He hopes to use that speed to take both track and football as far as he can possibly go.
“I want to do both all the way through, kind of like (NFL receiver and Olympian) Marquise Goodwin did,” Moore said. “I want to go to the Olympics, but I also want to get my dream and go to the league. I definitely want to do both as long as I can.”
Moore also has offers from Purdue, Kentucky, Illinois, Ole Miss and more. He visited Michigan early last fall for a game. He is currently busy with track, so he's not able to take many visits, but said he plans to get back to Ann Arbor in the summer.
“It has been an exciting ride for him,” Howard said. “He burst onto the track scene quickly and got attention in that area, and he appreciates that, but he was wanting that on the football side too so it was awesome to see him get Power 5 offers. Then Michigan offers and I got tears in my eyes, the allergies started acting up. I know he’s been up there and took pictures in the jersey and that was one of the offers he was hopeful he would get.”
Moore is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 12 junior prospect in Illinois.
New spring evaluation offer
Missouri City (Texas) Willowridge wide receiver Latrell Neville is a blue-chip prospect in the 2021 class already rated as a four-star prospect. Neville (6-3, 195 pounds) was recruited by Wolverines offensive coordinator Josh Gattis when Gattis was at Alabama.
Neville hopes to get to Michigan this summer.
Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, LSU and Ohio State are others schools recruiting him.
Highly-regarded visitor coming to UM
Damascus (Md.) center Ryan Linthicum, ranked by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 1 center, will visit Michigan this weekend.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pound Linthicum holds an offer from the Wolverines, along with seven other schools including Louisville, LSU and Maryland.
This will be his first trip to Ann Arbor.
Allen Trieu covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports. He has been featured on the Big Ten Network on its annual Signing Day Show. His Michigan and Michigan State recruiting columns appear weekly at detroitnews.com.