2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012
Merrick, New Yor
Marcus Spears, DE, Louisiana State
Height: 6:04.0 Weight: 298
Overview: Marcus Spears is a multi-talented and versatile defensive lineman. He is a player with tremendous power and an enormous wingspan who often draws a great deal attention from the offensive line. He is very athletic for a player of his size and was so highly regarded for his skills that coaches used him on both sides of the ball (defensive end and tight end) as a freshman in 2001. Spears was rated the best tight-end prospect in the country by every recruiting service during his senior year at Southern Lab (La.) High. He caught 28 passes for 435 yards and three touchdowns, rushed for 245 yards and six scores and recorded 11.5 sacks with 22 stops for losses of 151 yards in his final prep season. Spears was the third-best overall prospect by Super Prep and was a consensus All-American (Parade, ESPN, Fox Sports, Super Prep, Prep Star, The Sporting News, USA Today) and also a member of the Baton Rouge Advocate's Super Dozen, the Shreveport Times Top 20 and the New Orleans Times-Picayune's Top 16 Blue Chip list. Spears was named first-team Class 1A All-State on both offense and defense, the first player to be honored on both sides of the ball in Louisiana in any class since 1991. He was also considered one of the nation's top basketball prospects. Heavily recruited in both football and basketball, Spears decided to stay at home and enrolled at Louisiana State. As a freshman at LSU, he was a reserve tight end on the and also played on the Tigers' basketball team. He saw action later that year on defense, making eight tackles (6 solo) with a sack. Spears took over left defensive end duties in 2002, collecting 46 tackles (31 solo) with three sacks, 16 quarterback pressures and two interceptions as a sophomore, despite suffering an ankle sprain in the seventh game of the season vs. South Carolina (would sit out vs. Auburn and the injury would hamper him throughout the second half of the season). In 2003, he earned All-Southeastern Conference honors, registering 49 tackles (32 solo) with six sacks, 13 stops behind the line of scrimmage, 23 pressures, an interception (which sealed the Sugar Bowl win over Oklahoma) and six pass deflections. In 2004, Spears appeared to be two different players. Earlier in the year, you could have found Waldo easier than Spears on the statistical charts (had a total of three tackles in a three-game span vs. Arkansas State, Auburn and Mississippi State). With the team struggling at the time, the Tigers needed Spears to step up or 2004 would have been a lost season. In the final five regular season games, he had at least two tackles for losses in each contest (Troy State, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Mississippi, Alabama), and moved up to fifth on the school's career-record list with 19 sacks under his belt. He closed out his senior campaign with 49 tackles (32 solo), nine sacks, 17 stops for losses, six pressures, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, an interception and two pass deflections. Through 48 games as a Tiger, he started 38 times. Spears closed out his career with 152 tackles (101 solo), 19 sacks for minus-131 yards, 34.5 stops for losses of 180 yards, 47 quarterback pressures, two forced fumbles, four interceptions, 10 pass deflections and a blocked kick. Only Jarvis Green (20, 1998-2001), Gabe Northern (21, 1992-95), Ron Sancho (23, 1985-88) and Rydell Malancon (25, 1980-83) had more sacks in a career at Louisiana State. His 34.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage rank seventh on LSU's all-time list.
Analysis: Positives Spears has good size, but appears soft and fleshy in the midsection. He has broad shoulders, a huge bubble, thick thighs and muscular calves. He is athletic enough to line up as a linebacker in blitzing situations and has the short area speed to handle a halfback in pass coverage. Spears displays excellent upper body strength and does a good job of keeping position at the point of attack. His power allows him to control and anchor with authority, but he needs to develop better hand usage in order to consistently shed and stack. Spears is best when operating near the line, as he excels when taking on a stationary blocker. He looks more like a 3-4 defensive end than one that can operate outside in a classic 4-3 alignment, much like Richard Seymour of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. He has good ability to locate the ball at the line, but can get washed out and will shut down his motor when his initial move fails in his attempts to disengage from the blocker. He has very good field awareness and can also operate as a drop end, but seems more comfortable when he can utilize his strength to control his side of the football and clog the rush lanes. He has a strong anchor vs. double teams, but needs to play at a lower pad level to be even more effective. When he breaks free into the backfield, he can be a very disruptive force. Spears has good explosion off the line of scrimmage to cause trouble in the backfield, but can be inconsistent. His lateral movement allows him to flow to the ball with ease and he is very effective giving chase from the backside. Spears does a good job of handling his assignment responsibilities, but with his athletic skills, you hope he would freelance more often. He seems to get too mechanical and conscious of those responsibilities and will miss a few plays due to this. As a pass rusher, he has a high pad level, but is active and can work off the offensive guard's edge. He has a quick swim move that he utilizes quite a bit to break free. Until the second half of 2004, he was just too inconsistent in attempts to apply pressure. He needs to do a better job with his hands in shedding, but does have the strength to accomplish that feat (lacks technique). Even though he ranks fifth in school history with 19 sacks, he is just an average pass rusher who must use his hands better. Until he can develop better hand usage, he will generate production as a bull rusher who can ocassionally dip and take the corner. When he comes off the snap uncontested, Spears can really zero in on the quarterback. His problems happen when he does not generate enough knee lift and foot speed, as he does a marginal job of generating the burst needed to track down the ball from the back side. He seems to look for the free lane to the quarterback too much, but if he can get more forceful with his hands, Spears would have better success in collapsing the pocket. If the second half of 2004 is any indication, Spears is finally starting to come into his own. I am not really convinced that he can have great success as a classic 4-3 defensive end. But, with a lot of NFL teams using the 3-4 alignment, he could be productive like New England standouts Richard Seymour and Ty Warren. Maintaining that 2004 second half consistency at the Senior Bowl gives Spears an opportunity to sneak into the end of the first round. This is strictly a boom-or-bust type of athlete, but he looks like he is about to emerge as a productive and disruptive force.
Agility tests: 5.03 in the 40-yard dash...405-pound bench press...530-pound squat...308-pound power clean...34-inch vertical jump...9'1" broad jump...33 3/8-inch arm length...10 3/8-inch hands...Right-handed...15/34 Wonderlic score.
High school: Attended Southern University (Baton Rouge, La.) Lab High, playing football for coach Eric Randall. ... Rated the tight end prospect and the third-best overall prospect in the country by Super Prep. ... Consensus All-American choice (Parade, ESPN, Fox Sports, Super Prep, Prep Star, The Sporting News, USA Today). ... Also a member of the Baton Rouge Advocate's Super Dozen, the Shreveport Times Top 20 and the New Orleans Times-Picayune's Top 16 Blue Chip list for the state of Louisiana. ... First-Team Class 1A All-State pick on both offense and defense, the first player to be honored on both sides of the ball in Louisiana in any class since 1991. ... Caught 28 passes for 435 yards and three touch-downs and added 245 yards rushing and six scores as a senior. ... On defense, he registered 22 tackles for 151 yards in losses to go with 11.5 sacks, and four fumble recoveries. ... Was considered one of the nation's top basketball prospects as well.
Personal: Communication Studies major...Active in community service projects in the Baton Rouge area...Sister, Deidre, played basketball for LSU in the 1990s. ... Son of Irma and Ebray Spears...Born Marcus Raishon Spears on 3/08/83 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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