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Marve was tabbed for success at a young age

UM recruit Robert Marve, a Parade All-American quarterback, was tabbed for stardom by his parents at a young age. 'It's been in his blood the whole time,' Marve's mom, Julie, said.

BY SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com

CHOICE IS HIS: 'I'm so proud of him,' Eugene Marve said of his son, Robert, who committed to the University of Miami on Wednesday.

STEFANIE BOYAR / ST. PETERSBURG TIMES

CHOICE IS HIS: 'I'm so proud of him,' Eugene Marve said of his son, Robert, who committed to the University of Miami on Wednesday.

 

* Marve strengthens class

* UM recruiting class

 

Seventh in a series.

 

When record-setting quarterback recruit Robert Marve donned an orange University of Miami cap, bounced up from his chair and formed the ''U'' sign Wednesday for an exuberant audience at Tampa Plant High School, Hurricanes fans watching live on the Internet no doubt flashed to the future.

 

Marve's parents likely flashed to the past.

 

Marve was 3 years old when his parents realized he was a natural -- more than two years after he said his first word: ``ball.''

 

Eugene Marve, Robert's dad and at that time a San Diego Chargers linebacker, had just contributed to a shutout over Kansas City in the first round of the 1992 playoffs. Eugene raced toward his wife, Julie, and their two children.

 

''I handed Robert to Eugene's brother and he handed him over the railing to Eugene,'' Julie said. ``They went into the locker room together and the players began to pray.''

 

Then, unexpectedly, little Robert dropped to his knee and joined the NFL players.

 

''It's been in his blood the whole time,'' Julie Marve said. ``He belonged in that room.''

 

Unbeknown to Eugene Marve, he had earned his final victory that day after an 11-year NFL career, six years with Buffalo, four with Tampa Bay and the last with San Diego. But young Robert would eventually continue the legacy. On Wednesday -- three days before his 18th birthday -- he is expected to sign a letter of intent to play football at UM.

 

Mom and Dad, who are divorced but still friends, happily sat with Robert and his 14-year-old sister, Rebecca, at his commitment announcement. Eugene Marve told a WFLA-TV news reporter that day he was far more gratified watching his son reach a milestone than he was for his own accomplishments.

 

''That's a no-brainer,'' Eugene said. ``Watching it today and seeing Robert fulfill a dream, I'm so proud of him. I'm just so happy he's going to a great university, a private university of under 15,000 where he'll get professional attention for his academics and his education.

 

``As a parent you don't really think about how big the stadium is or how nice the weight room is. But you want the education and you want them to be able to provide a living not only for themselves but for their family.''

 

Marve, a Parade All-American, wants his initial job to be in the sport he has loved since he first played in the Tampa Bay Youth Football League as an 8-year-old. Judging by his credentials, he had a good start.

 

The 6-1, 190-pound Marve set state records this season in leading the Plant High Panthers to the Class 4A state championship over Ponte Vedra Nease. Nease was the school where current Florida Gators standout Tim Tebow won the state title last season.

 

RECORD-SETTER

 

It was Tebow's records Marve eclipsed in 2006 -- in passing yards (4,380), completions (280) and touchdowns (48). In doing so, Marve, who already had been named the Class 4A Player of the Year, was also named the 2006 Florida Dairy Farmers Mr. Football.

 

Some of the former Florida Mr. Footballs: UM receiver Jammi German in 1992; Miami Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper in 1994; Florida State quarterback Xavier Lee in 2003; and FSU tailback Antone Smith in 2004.

 

Marve mostly played from the shotgun in a predominately spread offense. He finished 2006 with 280 completions in 421 attempts (67 percent), and threw 13 interceptions.

 

He also rushed for 832 yards with eight touchdowns and one receiving touchdown in leading Plant to a 15-0 record.

 

''My dad always said he could tell when Rob was a little kid that he was going to do big things one day,'' said Marve's closest friend, Zack Midulla, a Plant linebacker and tight end. ``I've known him since we were 8 and he's always been special -- different from the rest of the kids. He plays with such passion and works harder than anyone I've ever known. He'd be in the field house studying film to 12 or 1 in the morning.''

 

Marve and his parents said a big reason he chose UM and decommitted from Alabama -- besides the firing of former Alabama coach Mike Shula and the tepid reception they got from new coach Nick Saban -- was the Miami coaching staff. They said they loved new coach Randy Shannon from the start, and enthusiastically approved of new offensive coordinator Patrick Nix.

 

''I like Coach Nix a lot,'' Marve said. 'He's a real personable guy who runs a pro-style offense and tries to get the ball into playmakers' hands. I like to throw more than run. What I think I do best is make plays with my feet but at the same time keep my eyes down the field so I can throw on the run.''

 

As for Shannon, who is prohibited by the NCAA from making comments about prospective players, Marve and his parents were impressed with how grounded he seemed.

 

`HUMBLE GUY'

 

''Coach Shannon is a very humble guy,'' Marve said. ``Miami has this image that is really wrong. They're not so thuggish as people say. [He] won my mom over. You meet a lot of head coaches who make big bucks and you can't touch their suits because they might get mad. Coach Shannon was passing out water to the recruits and doing little stuff. If he's not too big to do that, I'm not too big for anything.

 

``Trust was a big thing in this issue and I didn't feel it as much at Alabama.''

 

Marve's Plant coach, Robert Weiner, was named the Florida Dairy Farmers Coach of the Year. He said Marve ``has a great arm and is a tremendous decision maker. Never in my 20 years of coaching have I ever entrusted anybody with an offense as much as him. He makes all the good decisions.''

 

Someone asked Marve if Shannon promised him anything -- playing time as a freshman, perhaps?

 

''Coach Shannon said if come to Miami he promises me I'll be in class and they'll do everything to help me get my degree,'' said Marve, grinning. ``Football will take care of itself. You do the right thing off the field and you're going to win games.''

 

Coming Monday: How coaches recruit.

 

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sport...mi/16620107.htm

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