- Garry Paskwietz, Publisher, WeAreSC.com
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REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- The B2G 5-star team won the IMG Madden 7-on-7 West regional on Sunday at Redondo Union (Calif.) High School thanks in large part to a talented array of defensive backs and receivers.
It figures a team would have to be strong in those position groups to win a passing tournament, but the B2G squad also features a weapon that isn't normally featured in these settings.
Marcus Baugh from Riverside (Calif.) J.W. North High School is one of the most talented tight ends in the nation. A member of the ESPN 150 Watch list, Baugh recently made a verbal commitment to Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes. At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Baugh brings very good athleticism to the TE spot (he is also a basketball player) and it's clear he enjoys taking part in the 7-on-7 tournaments because it gives him a chance to show off that side of his game.
"I can run," Baugh said. "I'm an H-Back type. I can create a lot of mismatches with my speed. These 7-on-7 events are a great way to test yourself against the best from the area. There's a lot of talent out here."
B2G co-founder Henry Bell said his team has had a history of utilizing the tight ends, but it also helps that they've had some pretty good ones. USC signee Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick was on the team last year and was ESPN's No. 1 rated tight end in the Class of 2012. In addition to Baugh, this year's team also features Mat Boesen (Torrance, Calif./West) and class of 2014 prospect Darrell Cloy (Sante Fe Springs, Calif./St. Paul).
"We're able to help the tight ends a lot in their development," Bell said. "We teach them to route run, to get in and out of their breaks. And they are needed in 7-on-7 because they work the middle of the field where nobody can match up with them."
One of the main reasons Baugh committed to Ohio State was that he liked the way Meyer uses the tight end in his offense. Baugh considers himself a hybrid tight end in the Tony Gonzalez or Rob Gronkowski mold and liked what Meyer did with Aaron Hernandez when he was at Florida.
The Buckeyes also had a built-in family advantage, as Baugh has a cousin who attends Ohio State and is a tailgater at football games. Baugh had been to the Columbus campus a few years ago to visit his cousin, and he got to catch a basketball game and has had a strong interest in the Buckeyes ever since.
"It was always Ohio State," Baugh said. "I had them tied with Arizona State at the beginning of my recruiting process, but after a while I just talked with my coaches and my family, they let me make my decision, and I went with Ohio State. I'm not taking any trips either, I'm done with recruiting.
"It was pretty easy for me to leave the West Coast. I checked on their roster and there aren't any kids from California on the team. I know it's cold; I'm going to hold a fund-raiser to raise money for long johns and thermals."
Before he heads back to the cold weather, Baugh will focus on his senior season for North and a big event in July that is the highlight of his summer plans.
"I'll be going to The Opening at Nike in Oregon," Baugh said. "I watched video of it last year on You Tube and it looked like a lot of fun. Guys like Jerry Rice were there, and that is something I'm really looking forward to."
The play of Riverside, Calif., tight end Marcus Baugh led B2G 5-star to the IMG Madden west regional title and showed that the Ohio State commit is the latest blue-chip Californian at the position.