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Arkansas Razorbacks target Marcus Wimberly is no longer a secret

Wimberly has six Division I offers

Marcus Wimberly has had a very busy first half of the summer. 

The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Bauxite junior reaped the rewards of a stellar sophomore campaign during the spring when he unofficially earned his first two college offers from in-state NCAA Division II programs Harding and Ouachita Baptist, the beginning of a gratifying domino effect. 

Wimberly got his first Division I offer from Arkansas-Pine Bluff on May 11 and over the next three weeks added Sam Houston State, Tennessee-Martin, and Memphis.

On June 17, Wimberly became the sixth in-state prospect to be offered by Arkansas, followed Michigan four days later.

“I have just been taking everything slow and enjoying it because there is a lot of excitement that comes with it,” Wimberly said of the recruiting process. “We are just going to continue to ride this thing out and see where The Lord takes us.”

Bauxite head coach Caleb Perry mentioned that Michigan special teams coordinator and safeties coach Jay Harbaugh told him that out of 55 safeties the Wolverines' staff are evaluating, Marcus is one of the best, if not the best.

"That is a pretty big deal coming from a school with a tremendous football history," Perry said. 

Jay Harbaugh, the son of head coach Jim Harbaugh, has been on staff at Michigan since his father took the job in 2015 and has helped lead the program to 74 wins in that span along with back-to-back College Football Playoff appearances. 

Wimberly played mostly wide receiver and safety last year before a season-ending injury thrusted him into a starting role at quarterback for the Miners' final four games. He compiled over 1,500 yards of offense and had three interceptions, two returned for touchdowns. Wimberly also possesses burning speed, running the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds. 

Perry added that Wimberly's knowledge of the game has made it much easier to move him around to different positions.

"He has such a high Football IQ, and you do not always get that privilege with other kids," Perry said. "Marcus is a coach's kid and been around football his whole life, so he understands everything. 

"He understands schemes and concepts, so when you have a kid that is talented, but also comprehends the way that he does, whatever you can do to be creative and put on a chalkboard then he can do it." 

Wimberly's father, Tommy, was an all-state linebacker for the Miners under Jon Watson in 2007 and now serves as the team's defensive coordinator. 

Tommy Wimberly went viral in 2018 while telling his story that is one of hard times, followed by triumph, and Marcus credits him as being one of his greatest mentors, but also friends. 

"He is a great motivator and great encourager," Marcus said. "He is like a best friend and it is a great relationship between me and him as not only him being a father, but a coach as well."

Raising a family of three through the final stages of high school and through college, Tommy uses the struggles of his childhood, as well as having no choice but to grow up quick, to help his students and players.

"One of the big things I tell the kids is the strength is within the struggle," Tommy said. "It is almost guaranteed in life you are going to go through difficult situations and it is how you respond that are going to determine how you have come out. 

"I always tell our kids how I love them way more as a person than I do as a player. A lot of kids do not hear that sometimes, and the more they hear and believe it, they can pour into someone else down the road. That is what my coaches did for me."

Marcus projects as a safety at the next level according most recruiting services and while he is just grateful to have the opportunity to play, he feels that is his natural spot.

"My heart is definitely at safety," he said. "You are in the back half on the defense when the ball is in the air or you can come downhill and knock somebody's block off. 

"I definitely enjoy safety more than anything, but I will play any position at the next level to get that opportunity."