At 6 feet 4 and 255 pounds, with 40-yard speed faster than some running backs, Marcus Baugh of Riverside North High is no lumbering giant.
Seeing him race down the sideline after making a catch makes him look like a 17-year-old who’s indestructible.
He’s a tight end extraordinaire, having caught 30 passes for 528 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior when he weighed 215 pounds.
After an off-season of lifting weights and consuming protein supplements, he has put on 40 pounds.
“My weight coach keeps telling me I’m too skinny,” he said.
The scary part for opponents is that Baugh is bigger and stronger but not slower.
“It hasn’t affected my running,” he said.
Added Coach Mark Parades: “One of the key characteristics is he’s a great athlete. He can move and jump and do things a little guy can do. He’s very versatile. We’re going to use him as a wide out, a tight end, running back and inside linebacker.”
Baugh started playing football when he was 9, then couldn’t play again until eighth grade because he was too big to make weight.
Tight end seems the perfect position to take advantage of his size, speed and versatility. Whether it comes to blocking or receiving, Baugh performs both assignments at a high standard of excellence.
“He locks onto guys, and guys can’t get off,” Parades said.
His size will allow him to take on 300-pound tackles on defense. On offense, linebackers and defensive backs are going to have to deal with him when he tries to clear them out of the way on running plays.
“I had a few pancakes last year,” he said.
And covering him won’t be easy, either.
North has a wheel route where Baugh gets isolated on a linebacker, and it was working well during summer passing competition.
Baugh’s big moment during the off-season came when he announced Ohio State was his college choice. He has lived in Southern California all his life, but he calls Ohio State his “dream school.”
“It was the best place for me,” he said. “I’m not going to settle for something less. If it means me having to go 2,000 miles away to the state of Ohio for the next four years, I’ll have to do that.”
When Baugh made the decision in April, he said it created a burst of insanity.
“My phone didn’t stop ringing for an hour or two,” he said. “I doubled my twitter followers in two hours. I kept getting text messages, congratulations and everybody wanting an interview.”
Things have calmed down considerably, allowing him to focus on the season ahead with little distractions.