October 31, 2013
Game at FAU good for recruiting, Florida natives
Nico Marley has been gone from Florida for only a few months, but he already is amped up about returning to his home state when Tulane plays at FAU this Saturday.
Marley, a true freshman starting linebacker for the Green Wave, grew up in Weston, about a 30-minute drive from the FAU campus in Boca Raton. He received no scholarship offer from the Owls or any other school in Florida because of his diminutive size (5-feet-8, 180 pounds).
Against FAU, he will have a chance to show everyone in the state exactly what they are missing while performing in from of what he estimates will be 15 relatives and friends.
"I'd be lying if I said it didn't have extra significance," he said. "A lot of people are coming to watch me play."
If Tulane (6-2, 4-0 Conference USA) extends a four-game winning streak to five and looks impressive doing it, a pipeline that has opened up from the Sunshine State to Tulane could get even stronger. Marley is one of six Green Wave players from Florida who will travel to Boca Raton, and all of them have significant roles.
Marley has started every game at weakside linebacker and emerged as Tulane's third-leading tackler with 38. Fifth-year senior Derrick Strozier, a starting nickelback from Orlando, is fourth on the team with 36 tackles.
Senior placekicker Cairo Santos, a Brazilian native who spent three year in St. Augustine as an exchange student, won the Lou Groza Award in 2012. The others are starting offensive tackle Arturo Uzdavinis and starting guard Nathan Shienle from Tampa and reserve defensive end Andre Robinson (Longwood), who started the first two games.
The number of Wave players from Florida is rising rapidly. Using Johnson's connections as an assistant coach with the Miami Hurricanes from 1996-2005, Tulane recruits the state harder than anywhere but south Louisiana.
Two Florida natives -defensive backs William Townsend and Tristan Cooper - are redshirting and will stay in New Orleans. Tulane already has six commitments for its 2014 class from Florida.
Beating FAU (2-6, 1-4 C-USA) in Boca Raton could make that pipeline even stronger.
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