When you say Grady Grey Knights these days, the first name that probably comes to mind is Damian Swann, the AJC Super 11 defensive back who is attracting recruiting attention from all over.
But there is a new name emerging from the old Atlanta high school. Marcus Caffey, a 6-foot, 190-pound running back, leads the Grey Knights with 911 yards on 78 carries (11.7 ypc). He, too, is attracting recruiters to Grady by the dozens. And along with Swann, Caffey is a big reason Grady is 7-1 and ranked No. 9 in Class AAA.
It will probably come as no surprise that these two elite athletes are also close friends.
“I’ve known him since I was 4,” Caffey said of Swann. “He played on my first basketball team. We’ve been playing on the same teams ever since.”
Asked if he and Swann ever discussed attending the same college, Caffey said: “Damian told me if I go to Georgia, he’s going to Georgia.”
Swann, as has been well-documented for quite some time now, has been the subject of an intense tug-of-war between the Bulldogs and Alabama since this past summer. Caffey, however, doesn’t currently have an offer from either school.
But Caffey said he thinks Georgia may be close to possibly extending one.
“They haven’t contacted me but they contacted my coaches,” Caffey said. “And, of course, they’ve been in contact with Damian and asked about me. Being from Georgia, that’d be huge if I got [an offer]. I feel like if they see me play I’ll get an offer.”
The Bulldogs’ main target at running back is Isaiah Crowell of Columbus. But all indications are they will sign at least two ball-carriers in this class.
Nevertheless, it’s not like it’s “Dogs or Bust” for Caffey. He has plenty of other scholarship opportunities. In fact he has at least 12 major college offers, including several from ACC, SEC and Big Ten schools. Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Purdue, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and West Virginia are his primary pursuers at this point.
“I have a lot more than are listed on Rivals or Scout,” Caffey said. “Those are just the main ones. Some schools are a little more interested than others.”
And Caffey has a little more interest in others than some.
For instance, Ole Miss was the first major-conference team to offer Caffey. But after Caffey didn’t immediately pounce on the offer, he has barely heard from the Rebels since.
Kentucky and Purdue, he said, are recruiting him the hardest. And Arkansas and South Carolina have also been pretty persistent.
Caffey said Purdue is the one place he knows for certain right now he will be traveling to for an official visit. “They have a couple of senior running backs and need some playmakers,” he said. “They’re saying I can come in and play a lot.”
At one time South Carolina appeared a likely destination.
“Growing up I always wanted to go to South Carolina,” he said. “I’m not sure why. I just always really liked South Carolina and Clemson for some reason and I just always thought I’d go to South Carolina.”
But recent developments have dampened Caffey’s enthusiasm for the Gamecocks. “[Marcus] Lattimore is obviously going to get a lot of carries. And they have the No. 1 and No. 2 running backs in South Carolina committed,” he said.
So Caffey said he is basically wide open. But instead of worrying about recruiting, he said he is focused on trying to win a championship for Grady.
That tact has served him well so far. Just last week, Caffey was the main difference in a 7-6 win over rival St. Pius. He had 153 yards on 19 carries and busted loose for 70 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
While Caffey said he “kind of snuck up on people” in recruiting, he feels like he’s no longer a secret. That is evidenced by the stack of mail and phone calls he’s receiving every day.
“At times [the recruiting] is kind of stressful,” he said. “But it’s good to have these opportunities. I know I’m going to play football in college. That’s been a good experience.”
Here’s some video of Caffey in action: