As Signing Day approaches, Nease High’s disgraced quarterback Marcus Stokes has a second chance at fulfilling his college football aspirations. After a senior season in which Stokes gained 2,672 yards, rushed for 496 yards, and scored 28 touchdowns, the four-star passer (or 3-star, depending on where you look) accepted an offer from Billy Napier’s Florida Gators. Then, at the tail end of the year, the knucklehead fumbled the ball in the most teenage way possible by singing the N-word on social media, which resulted in Florida pulling his offer.
Props to Florida for that. We can’t have outside parties thinking crooning the N-word is a loophole. The Gators were the best possible offer for Stokes who attends the same school Tebow made famous in the mid-2000s, but he’s not a Tebow-level talent. Based on the visits he’d made, he’s potentially a solid pickup for a Group of 5 program, and a steal for an FCS program. Stokes has offers from other Division I schools, but his most interesting option may be from Division II Albany State.
According to Stokes, the Golden Rams coach visited Nease on Wednesday and his father sounds confused. “It’s very unique. Very interesting,” Marcus’ father told 247 Sports over the phone. “We didn’t expect this at all.”
What’s the upside for Albany State?
An HBCU school in Georgia offering redemption to a white high school quarterback from Florida sounds like the plot of a Tyler Perry movie, but let’s not give him any ideas. Stokes sounded open to the move, but he also may be doing his own PR. Most schools have been hesitant to offer Stokes since his social media slip-up and Albany State’s coach offering feels like Al Sharpton inviting embattled figures to Sylvia’s on 125th for a photo-op.
Instead of Last Chance U, we’ve got a Black Chance U on our hands in which Albany State acts as the magic negro trope in Stokes’ redemption story. Conversely, Albany State is a program looking for an edge, and a quarterback with a 3 or 4-star pedigree is a boon for everyone. Alas, Stokes actually committing to Albany State would be the upset of Signing Day. How would that work out? Who knows? Three-stars usually end up at schools like Albany State after they’ve used up their opportunities and Stokes has at least one more chance at a D-1 program if he’s got the talent to compete.
On the other hand, if Stokes hasn’t learned his lesson yet, he’ll definitely think twice before getting too comfortable and doing the same thing at any HBCU.