Maliq Carr has his future figured out.
The Oak Park High School senior wide receiver/basketball forward planned to announce his college of choice on Friday, his 18th birthday, at 3:15 p.m., at the high school.
It’s down to Georgia and Purdue. Whatever his pick, he has been promised to play both sports.
“I love both equally,’’ he said. “They both have come easy to me. I want to play both in college.’’
Regarding football, he wanted to go to a school that didn’t mind throwing the ball on first or second-down, which immediately ruled out Michigan State.
“They were kind of dry,’’ Carr said of his recruitment.
Michigan’s speed-in-space didn’t make the grade either, despite a strong pitch from offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.
“He (Gattis) was a big reason I considered Michigan,’’ Carr said.
Once Carr makes his decision Friday, the Knights have their sights set on a state title.
“I think we have the senior leadership to do it,’’ said Carr. “Our senior class is close. The last couple of years we’ve been close, but if we don’t win it this year we will all be disappointed.’’
After the football season is over Carr planned to graduate early, so he could become a member of the Purdue or Georgia basketball team.
It didn’t matter that college teams are already practicing and he’s in the middle of his high school football season for the Knights, who are 5-1 and one victory from securing a playoff spot in Division 2.
“I’m going to work hard and catch up,’’ Carr said. “By the time March Madness comes around I plan on being the sixth or seventh man off the bench and in the rotation.’’
Big words from a big man.
Don’t count Carr out.
Confidence is never a problem. Physical ability? No issues there.
His mother, Peggy Carr-McMichael, was one of the greatest basketball players to come out of Michigan. His father, Cornell Mann, Is an assistant coach at Missouri and a star player in his day.
“My mom and dad didn’t coach me,’’ said Carr. “My dad let others because I probably wouldn’t have taken it seriously. I’ve worked out a lot of Stan Edwards (former Michigan running back). My role model is Calvin Johnson. We’re about the same size. I watch his tapes every day. He’s physically stronger than me. He has more definition.’’
Carr looked at his biceps and flexed.
“When I get to college I’ll have to hit the weight room and get stronger,’’ he said.
Carr is listed at 6-foot-5, 225 pounds. He punishes defensive backs, so much so that he was suspended one game last year for getting tangled up with a Birmingham Groves DB. He ended up missing seven quarters, which cost him a 1,000-yard season.
He high-points the ball as well as any high school receiver in Michigan. He attacks the ball the same way he zooms in on the rim in basketball.
Every day in practice he goes up against Penn State commit Enzo Jennings. It gets physical with fists flying and trash talking, which is unusual for the mild-mannered Jennings.
“They test each other and they go at it,’’ said Oak Park Coach Greg Carter. “They are like brothers. They love each other. They know they are making each other better. Malliq is a three-year starter, outstanding athlete, a player that can play multiple positions. I think once he figures out the position that people think is best for him when he gets to college all that stuff will be ironed out. He’s a great basketball player. He’s getting better and better every year. I think he’s going to get better when he gets to the next level.’’
Carr has three inches on Jennings and at least 30 pounds, but it doesn’t matter on the field.
“He’s very competitive,’’ said Jennings. “We fight, but it makes us better. When we go into the game there’s nothing to it. I haven’t faced a better receiver. His route running has become so much better. He has taken his game to another level. It looks unfair, but I’ve seen it in practice. When he goes up for a ball I know what’s going to happen. He can go up and get it. He makes it look easy.’’
It’s the same in basketball. Playing with The Family this summer he was as physically gifted as any player on the court most games at the Peach Tree Jam in Atlanta.
“I think every player on the team was the Division 1 player,’’ said Carr. We had guys injured or we would’ve won more games.
“I love basketball. I love playing both sports. I don’t care if I’m playing in a bowl game and miss part of basketball practice when I go to college. I’ll catch up.’’
It’s hard not to believe him.
And if the National Football League draft calls he’ll be with his family at the Marriott Renaissance Center waiting for the phone to ring