While the haters voice their disappointment with the 2021 recruiting class, Lane Kiffin and Jeff Lebby keep their heads down and added another weapon to their offense on Wednesday. Five days after announcing his commitment to Central Florida, former Florida Gators wide receiver Dionte Marks announced his intentions to transfer to Ole Miss.
In his only season in Gainesville, the Deland, Fla. native made appearances against UT Martin and Towson, but never recorded a catch. Though he never quite found wiggle room in Dan Mullen’s roster, Marks was a baller in high school.
The former three-star recruit played beyond his rating (stars are subjective constraints) and earned notable offers from Louisville, Nebraska, West Virginia and Florida State. In addition, Lebby and UCF were hard after him out of high school and Kiffin nearly landed him while in Boca Raton at FAU. Knowing that his new offensive coordinator and head coach wanted him back then, it’s easy to imagine how the new staff got him in the boat at Ole Miss two years later.
As a senior at Deland High School, Marks recorded 45 receptions for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns en route to an 8A Florida State Playoffs birth. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound receiver was also a sprinter and long jumper for DeLand’s track and field team and has been clocked in the 4.3 second 40-yard-dash range. In addition to his downfield speed, Marks popped a 11-foot, 3-inch long jump at the 2018 U.S. Army National Underclassmen Combine. That distance extends beyond the board and had to be manually measured. He’s a serious athlete.
Coming to Oxford as a redshirt freshman, it is not yet decided whether Marks will have to sit out a year due to transfer rules. However, in the NCAA’s system, unless the transfer is a high-profile quarterback that draws ratings at a powerhouse program (*cough cough JT Daniels*), he will more than likely be forced to wait until 2021.
How does he fit in?
Marks will join a talented wide receiver room in Oxford with Elijah Moore, Demarcus Gregory, Jonathan Mingo and Dannis Jackson, as well as incoming four-star recruit Bralon Brown— but there is no such thing as too many weapons for an offense that will go fast and score a lot of points.
Between Lebby and Kiffin, Ole Miss is slated to open up the field and move the ball quickly. The deep ball is not something that the Rebels saw a lot of under their previous regime, but can be expected this season and beyond. Marks will step into an offense that creates space and gets the ball to playmakers.
As a fast, twitchy, athletic receiver, he suits the new system well.
At only 178-pounds, Marks will need to work with Wilson Love to put weight on his frame before he can become a significant threat in traffic, but will fit well as a slot receiver. When Braylon Sanders graduates in the spring, Jackson and Tylan Knight are the two pass-catchers in line to compete for the inside spot on the current roster. Expect Marks to put his name in the mix right away.