Lexington’s Stevens making big impact on opponents, recruiters


Lexington’s Marc Stevens

Marc Stevens used to read every piece of recruiting literature that arrived on his doorstep. That was before the mailman started working overtime to deliver all the letters, packages and press guides from programs courting Lexington's 6-foot-5, 285-pound left tackle. “The most I've received in one day is 40,” Stevens said. “The recruiting process can be overwhelming.” So can Stevens.

LEXINGTON – Marc Stevens used to read every piece of recruiting literature that arrived on his doorstep.

That was before the mailman started working overtime to deliver all the letters, packages and press guides from high-profile programs courting Lexington's 6-foot-5, 285-pound left tackle.

“The letters arrive every day. The most I've received in one day is 40,” said Stevens, who already has offers from eight Division I schools. “I don't have time to read them all anymore. The only ones I read now are the ones that are hand-written.

“The recruiting process can be overwhelming.”

So can Stevens.

“Oh, he's real good. I've seen some other kids who have Division I offers and he's better than them,” Lexington coach B.J. Payne said. “He's our 6-5 bulldozer.”

That wasn't always the case. As a sophomore, Stevens said he was out of his element.

“I was big then, but I wasn't very strong,” he said. “I'm a lot stronger now and I'm faster and more coordinated. I've definitely grown into my body.”

His growth hasn't all been of a physical nature.

“The biggest difference I have seen in Marc over last year is his maturity,” Payne said. “He's gone from being a kid to being a young man. He carries himself the way he should.

“When we first came to Lexington last year, we were real hard on Marc because we knew what he could be.”

Payne's offseason strength and agility program has helped mold Stevens into a legitimate Division I prospect. He's received scholarship offers from Akron, Bowling Green, Kent State, Ohio University, Ball State, Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Marshall.

“Our offseason program is something he had never been through,” Payne said. “What has impressed me is his footwork. He's got great feet.”

While he'll line up at left tackle this fall, Stevens projects as a guard in college.

“Tackles in college have long arms to handle the outside pass rushers,” Stevens said. “College guards are more bruisers.”

Sophomore quarterback Courtney Avery wouldn't have anyone else guarding his blind side.

“It's a reassuring feeling to know you're never going to get hit from the backside,” Avery said. “He's a lot quicker and more agile this year. When you watch him on film, he's blowing people up.

“His knowledge of the game is amazing. He can anticipate what the linebackers are going to do.”

It doesn't hurt that Stevens carries a 3.8 GPA. he scored a 27 on his ACT.

“In our house, grades come first,” Stevens' father, Bob, said. “Everything else is secondary.”

His academic success lends itself to the football field.

“I don't think there's any question that his intelligence in the classroom carries over,” Payne said. “He makes all the right adjustments.”

Last season was a rocky one for the Minutemen. Lexington was 2-8 overall, winless in the Ohio Cardinal Conference.

“We were getting out of one system and trying to learn something totally different,” Stevens said. “And we weren't strong enough to compete with the teams in our conference. We have rectified that problem, though. I've seen an amazing commitment from everyone in the weight room.”

Lexington was picked to finish fourth in preseason media balloting. The Minutemen expect more of themselves.

“Our goal is to win the conference championship,” Stevens said. “I think we've got the team to do it. We have 17 seniors and they are the closest thing I have to brothers.”

Stevens is also an exceptional thrower for the Lexington track team. He was among the north central Ohio leaders in both the shot and disc.

“Track has helped me with my balance and explosion,” Stevens said. “I wouldn't mind trying track in college, but I'm going to school to play football.”

Which school still remains to be seen. Stevens said he plans to major in business or engineering.

“I haven't decided where I'll go yet,” Stevens said. “I'm still weighing my options.”

Payne said his senior standout should take his time.

“The most important thing is to find the right fit. It could happen in four or five weeks or it could happen in January,” he said. “It's not always about going to the biggest school. It's about balancing athletics and academics.

“Wherever Marc goes, he's going to be a good one.”

But is he good enough to handle his head coach? Payne won three national titles at Mount Union.

“I was a little defensive lineman and I could get underneath those big guys,” Payne said. “Marc couldn't block me.

“But if you ask Marc, he'd tell you he would win. He's a nice kid, but he's got a nasty streak in him.”



Stevens File

School: Lexington

Class: Senior

Position: Left tackle/nose guard

Height: 6-foot-5

Weight: 285 pounds

Bench: 350

Squat: 525

Parents: Bob and Melanie Stevens

Siblings: Elli, 15, and Hannah, 12

GPA: 3.8

Favorite Pro Team: Cleveland Browns

Favorite Player: Jake Long, Michigan.

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