Opening the season, many picked Marlin to finish fourth in preseason district standings in 8-2A Division I.
The Bulldogs have silenced the doubter, racking up 10 wins and earning a spot in the 2A DI Region II Regional Final.
The secret to their success is based on the development of homegrown talent and playing to their strengths, utilizing their athletic playmakers in space. Something they often did in a 52-36 win over Tolar last week.
2023 Marlin LB Derion Gullette (6'2, 225) was simply a man amongst boys.
"We knew going into this game that they couldn't match us athlete for athlete," Gullette told reporters. "They couldn't match us skill wise. Our biggest thing is that we had to stop the run and execute on offense and put the ball in our playmaker's hands."
Scouting Report: It's easy to see why college staffs have started to circle the CenTex prospect. He provides the requisite build and well above average athleticism. His contributions on offense give context to his athleticism and speed. On defense, he's as violent of a tackler as I've seen this year in person. Gullette's projection is a bit unknown at this point. As of now, he appears to be a linebacker at the next level, but with continued growth, he could fill into an edge-type rusher—a trendy position right now in football. As an athletic big guy with size and next-level physicality, his traits can place him at several spots within a defensive front seven.
Gullette has been in contact with Auburn, Baylor, LSU, Mississippi State, Texas, Texas A&M and others. His offer list consists of all in-state schools, with Baylor, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech extending reported offers.
Gullette has started to build very influential and healthy relationships with several staff members at Texas A&M, and he has visited College Station multiple times in October on an unofficial basis.
"I talk to coach (Tyler) Santucci and coach Tony Jerod-Eddie. I look at those guys like father figures in my life. Going on this recruiting journey is something that I'm new to, so them guiding me through it is amazing," Gullette noted.
With Baylor being located a short drive up the road from Marlin, they have built a solid early bond with Gullette. The facilities caught his eye.
"I talk to coach (Brian) Nance, and I'm close with Coach Aranda," Gullete said. "Coach Nance is like an older brother to me, our relationship is great. I took a visit there, and (he) showed me their facility. I'm impressed with their weight room."
Texas has had consistent contact, and Gullette has visited Austin for the Texas Tech and Kansas games. A couple of staff members from Texas have stood out.
"I've talked to coach (Jeff) Choate and coach Chris Gilbert. My relationship with Coach Gilbert is amazing. I look at him as an older brother/father because he shows me everything and talks to me when I need to be talked, just guiding me through the recruitment," Gullette said.
Gullette is a native of Alabama and is highly interested in visiting the Roll Tide program if that opportunity presents itself. A couple of other spots he's eyeing for visits include Auburn and Oklahoma.
Note: Ohio State offered on Thursday.
Academics are a strong factor in Gullette's decision-making process.
Marlin will play Crawford this upcoming Friday at 7:00 PM at Belton's Tiger Field in the 2A DI Region II Regional Final.
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