Arrest, injury didn't stop running back Marlin Lane from joining Tennessee

Mainland's, Marlin Lane, No. 4, runs through Spruce Creek defense during play at New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex, Friday, October 8, 2010.

Photo by NIGEL COOK

Mainland's, Marlin Lane, No. 4, runs through Spruce Creek defense during play at New Smyrna Beach Sports Complex, Friday, October 8, 2010.

Marlin Lane talks outside of Mainland High School

Marlin Lane signs with Tennessee

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - For Marlin Lane, there wasn't any time to rest and reflect after he was arrested for possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana.

No matter that it was Christmas Eve. No matter that the incident likely wouldn't have any effect on him reaching his ultimate goal of lining up as a running back in the NFL.

He had to get tested. He had to clear his name.

"I've never touched drugs in my life," said Lane, one of Tennessee's most highly touted signees for the Class of 2011.

"Just the wrong place, wrong time. It happens."

"It happens," though, just wasn't good enough. Lane and one of his lifelong mentors, Steve Deluca, scoured the North Florida region for a doctor willing to submit Lane to a drug test. Hours later, Lane and Deluca got what they wanted, an entirely negative result that Lane hopes will help in his attempt to have the charge dropped - something that could happen as soon as next week.

"I just want to look ahead and let it stay back," Lane said. "I don't want to go back to that."

Perhaps the ordeal would have been tougher on Lane, a consensus four-star tailback, had he not faced so much adversity throughout his high school career.

n

In the middle of the night nearly 10 years ago, Lane moved out of his mother's house and in with his father. He attended Mainland High - 25 minutes away in Daytona Beach - instead of DeLand High, a decision that didn't sit well with a number of residents in his hometown. He saw his career flash before his eyes and then his stock on recruiting websites fall when he shredded his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late during his junior season. He saw a longtime coach resign midway through his senior season because of the coach's arrest in a prostitution sting.

It certainly hasn't been the smoothest path, but it's all had a hand in Lane's landing with the Vols.

"I've been through a lot," Lane said. "I just go through it and wake up the next day and pray for a better day."

n

Marlin Lane Sr. was moments away from turning off the lights and hopping in his bed when he was startled by a knock at his front door.

A sense of fear was quickly replaced by surprise, as a 10-year-old Marlin and his younger brother, Marquon, wanted inside.

"I'm like, 'What are y'all doing?'" Lane Sr. recalled. "They said, 'We're staying with you; we're living with you.' "

That's all it took for Lane Sr. to oblige.

"I gave him some stability," Lane Sr. said. "I encouraged him."

Lane said he's still close with his mother, who lives just a couple blocks away from his father in DeLand. When he has time after school and workouts, he frequently stops by her house and makes a point to talk to her every day.

He knows far too many whose family situation is much worse.

"Our relationship is really close and everything," Lane said. "I'm just lucky to have both parents."

Lane Sr. was there for Lane when he made one of the first tough decisions of his high school career.

After piling up yards during his two years at Lighthouse Christian Academy, Lane wasn't exactly thrilled about taking the next step of his career at DeLand. Though he was zoned to play for his hometown Bulldogs, Lane wanted to attend Mainland because he wanted to "play with the best" and avoid the trouble that he said would likely follow him at DeLand.

"He was tired of people saying he wasn't playing everybody," Lane Sr. said. "He came to me and said, 'People are saying that I wasn't playing anybody, I wasn't playing nobody, I wasn't this, I wasn't that.' "

Lane, at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds, quickly became this, that and one of the nation's highest-rated running backs.

He ran for 758 yards and 12 touchdowns on his way to more than 1,000 yards of total offense in his sophomore season. By the first game of his junior season, Lane had more than 20 scholarship offers from across the country.

That didn't matter much to Lane. He already was committed to Clemson.

Though he wouldn't be able to sign with the Tigers for years, Lane made it official in his own way, getting a tattoo of a small tiger paw next to a train bursting through a brick wall on his right shoulder.

The tattoo proved to be as permanent of a representation of Lane's future as the scholarship Clemson once promised him.

"It's an everyday job, it's a business," Lane said. "I'm not going to knock them off and say anything. I just wish them the best. I'm just going and moving on and not looking back."

n

Lane didn't think anything of it at the time. It was just a bruise.

But the bruise he suffered on his MCL three weeks into his junior year didn't go away like normal bruises. It lingered.

When he took a carry in a first-round playoff game, Lane went to cut but immediately fell to the ground. His knee felt numb, but he didn't think it was anything major.

Only later, after he walked off under his own power to the sidelines, did Lane find out his ACL was torn and would require surgery.

"He don't feel no pain, nothing," Lane Sr. said. "That's my biggest worry. Sometimes it's time to back off. Sometimes it's not. He don't know when to turn it off."

"Off" wasn't in Lane's vocabulary throughout a grueling rehab regimen that put him back on the football field months earlier than expected.

Marlin Lane Jr,

Photo by NIGEL COOK

Marlin Lane Jr,

Working alongside Deluca, director of sports performance at All Star sports camps, Lane went through three-a-days during a grueling summer leading into his senior year. Implementing exercises made famous by former NFL running back Willis McGahee during his recovery from a torn ACL, Lane spent at least one part of his day in a sand pit.

"Marlin was eating it up in that sand pit, man," Lane Sr. said. "I was getting tired looking at him. Marlin was out there dripping wet. He wouldn't back off. It was crazy."

n

Lane Sr. didn't want his son to play at all during his senior season, but the constant antagonizing from him became too much to bear. After four games, Lane was back in the backfield and running at "80 percent."

A number of recruiting analysts said Lane had lost a step and promptly dropped him down in their respective final rankings. That may have been true during the season, but it's far from it now, Deluca said.

"His speed is up to what it was," Deluca said. "He's cutting and doing the things he needs to do.

"There was the getting used to running with that bulky knee brace on that leg, which, long-term, he won't need."

The injury had little impact on Lane's many suitors, and it didn't initially affect his relationship with Clemson. Even after the Tigers landed a commitment from another one of the nation's top running backs, Mike Bellamy, Lane remained firm with Clemson throughout his senior year.

It wasn't until Lane floated the idea of visiting UT in early January that Clemson delivered an ultimatum that irked him and his father.

Go to Knoxville and say goodbye to the scholarship that had been on the table for 19 months.

"There's nothing saying we can't go on our official visits," Lane Sr. said. "Every visit he went on, Auburn, Miami, he never said he was de-committed."

So, the Lanes went to UT for the weekend. Before they even arrived on campus, the Clemson offer was gone and an unexpected spin had been spread among scouting service websites for the reasoning.

Lane, those sites wrote, no longer held a Clemson offer because of his arrest on marijuana possession.

"That was so unfortunate," Deluca said. "I didn't even care that Clemson decided to change their mind, but they didn't need to point to anything other than they changed their mind because the rest of it was an unfounded excuse."

Lane had little time to be angry about the sudden turn of events. After 19 months of being locked into the biggest decision of his life, Lane had just a few weeks to figure everything out.

Surprisingly and fortunately for UT, it didn't take very long.

"Everything happened for a reason, so I'm pretty sure the man up above just knew where I really needed to be at," Lane said. "It happened so quick."

The wait to clear his name hasn't been as swift, but that, too, is expected to end in a positive way.

"I'm going to move on," Lane said. "It's not like that when they took my scholarship I dropped to a lower status. I upped it."

Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble

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Comments » 64

KJVol writes:

Really looking forward to seeing Marlin Lane in orange. I think that he might just be the best back we've fielded since the Jamal Lewis/Travis Henry days.

Welcome aboard Marlin!!

Texas_Slim_Bevo writes:

in response to KJVol:

Really looking forward to seeing Marlin Lane in orange. I think that he might just be the best back we've fielded since the Jamal Lewis/Travis Henry days.

Welcome aboard Marlin!!

Plus, those two never had problems with drug possession.

tree_em_smokey writes:

Sounds like a great young man. I hope you get your name clear Mr. Lane. I look forward to seeing you running through the endzone over and over! Please Vol fans don't criticize or start with the pot head posts. Innocent until proven guilty. I expect it from the trolls. GBO!!!

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say sounds like he knew he was innocent. Witch Doctor like the look on Witch Doctors wifes face when he tell her while driving somewhere she "ridin' dirty"..Witch Doctor kidding but fun to watch her squirm. lol
Bones never lie.

chrisw2967 writes:

We will hear,Marlin finds a "Lane" to the checkerboard.

Denvervol4life writes:

Everytime we get a promising running back everyone wants to say he's the next such and such. Give this man time and let's see how good he is.The same people on here calling him Jamal Lewis will be bashing him on the comments.smh.

xvolx writes:

I believe Dooley cares about these kids getting an education as well as playing football. I don't know what it is, but I think Dooley is a good coach. He should have gotten coach of the year. Going 6-6 with what he had to work with was an excellent piece of coaching. Let's all give this man a chance to build a program.

MidTennVol writes:

Great article, Gribs. Very good read.

Marlin, welcome to the family. You will soon be a Vol for Life. We wish you the best.

Wayfarer writes:

I believe this young man with be an access to the UT program when it all said and done. He sounds like he really did get caught being at the wrong place at the wrong time so I am hopeful he can come to UT and be a good citizen. I have faith that Coach Dooley and Co. have investigated him and would not have offered him if there were questions in character. Looking forward to seeing Lane running through the T and across the goal line.

TitanandVolfan4life writes:

This kid was knocked down and got right back up.

Then he was knocked down even harder and got back up again.

He's a young kid but he's already proven that he's no quitter and even with a serious injury and months of really tough rehab and hard work he never gave up and also proved his work ethic.

Innocent until PROVEN guilty is what our laws state but this young man didn't wait or hesitate at all and went and found a doctor to give him the legal testing that proved he told the truth and didn't have any residuals of any drugs in his body and that shows determination to prove beyond any doubt that he was clear.

WELCOME young man to the SEC and our Tennessee Vols!!!

You'll be a Vol for Life now and your hard work to prove your success in the SEC will go much farther to prove your worth to the NFL than playing for Clemson will.

You're also right...God does have a better plan for you wearing Tennessee Orange and running into our checkerboards many time during your career.

VFL...GO BIG ORANGE !!!

Bogus writes:

A little concerned about his previous injuries, but then again, I was with Hardesty, too. And we all know what he did. Hopefully Marlin will get a shot at Clemson in the next 4 years so he can show them what they missed out on.

pdhuff#552644 writes:

Best of luck, youngster.

It's a big, tough world out there.

Spits a lot of dreams into the trash.

Keep your head on straight and welcome to K-ville.

seadaddy writes:

in response to goodbad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Little Person Bully,
You should feel real proud that you can try and cut this kid down with your low life comments.
You are proberly a 40 something year old loser person who has no information about this kid and you come on here trying to cut him down to make yourself look good,all the time while hiding behind your keyboard.
I wonder if you would say the same thing in person face to face with his Dad?
NO...I didn't think so,he would knock your teeth out (if you still have any) and teach you a lesson about flapping your mouth while putting people down.
I bet you are the kind of small person that all the bullies when after in school,and now that you are grown person ,you can hide on the computer and bully this kid with your slang remarks,you should be proud of yourself....I bet your family is proud of you.....................NOT!

RockyTop1_old writes:

All Lane's are NOT created equal! This one seems to be a keeper...Lane breaks up the middle...40, 50 40 30 20 10 TOUCHDOWN TENNESSEE!!!! Give him SIX.....(courtesy of the GREAT John Ward's memory) We miss you John! Hope your gardens are doing well, VFL.... GBO!!

PHAT_VOL writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say sounds like he knew he was innocent. Witch Doctor like the look on Witch Doctors wifes face when he tell her while driving somewhere she "ridin' dirty"..Witch Doctor kidding but fun to watch her squirm. lol
Bones never lie.

NOW THATS FUNNY RIGHT THERE. I tell you what thats funny. My big belly is still shaking. It looks like Japan. Laughed so hard I thought I was going to loose those two stacks of pancakes I just ate for breakfast.
Welcome young man glade to have ya. Do you have a brother?
Racial profiling is a terrible thing.
GO VOLS !!

OldVols68 writes:

in response to KJVol:

Really looking forward to seeing Marlin Lane in orange. I think that he might just be the best back we've fielded since the Jamal Lewis/Travis Henry days.

Welcome aboard Marlin!!

I thought Bryce Brown was that "best back" the Vols had signed since Jamal:) Hopefully this kid turns out better.....

SEC1 writes:

in response to OldVols68:

I thought Bryce Brown was that "best back" the Vols had signed since Jamal:) Hopefully this kid turns out better.....

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

John_10065 writes:

in response to tree_em_smokey:

Sounds like a great young man. I hope you get your name clear Mr. Lane. I look forward to seeing you running through the endzone over and over! Please Vol fans don't criticize or start with the pot head posts. Innocent until proven guilty. I expect it from the trolls. GBO!!!

Hypothetically there are 5 people in a car, one of them in holding a bag of pot and the other 4 don't know it and don't use it.

Guess who gets busted for possession? ALL OF THEM!

It happens all the time. I was charged with possession back in 1981 and ended up fighting in court. I was a passenger in a car where they found a fragment of a joint in the bottom of a full ashtray.

Vol43 writes:

in response to SEC1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Now that was insightful. What else do you have?

8ball writes:

in response to SEC1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

At least his dad is not in jail...like someone in ala..

BigBadVol writes:

in response to goodbad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Could you be a bigger creep?

erniethecatladd writes:

in response to xvolx:

I believe Dooley cares about these kids getting an education as well as playing football. I don't know what it is, but I think Dooley is a good coach. He should have gotten coach of the year. Going 6-6 with what he had to work with was an excellent piece of coaching. Let's all give this man a chance to build a program.

That implosion at the end of the LSU game probably cost him a lot of votes. I do love Coach Dooley. I just hope he stays in Knoxville long enough to become an experienced veteran. He will learn how to win a championship eventually because he is very intelligent and he has the resources at his disposal.

BigBadVol writes:

in response to SEC1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You have to be kidding? Everyone knows FL is thug U. More arrests than any other school the past two years.

seadaddy writes:

in response to SEC1:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Today is Sunday....go to church you low life!

erniethecatladd writes:

in response to KJVol:

Really looking forward to seeing Marlin Lane in orange. I think that he might just be the best back we've fielded since the Jamal Lewis/Travis Henry days.

Welcome aboard Marlin!!

Let us not forget about QB Tony Robinson, RB's Reggie Cobb and Lamarcus Coker. They were incredible backs and lousy drug dealers just like Jamal and Travis. Dang, a lot of talent in that short paragraph. But seriously, I hope this kid's story is truthful, and he has a great career in the right shade of orange.

huntined#565710 writes:

VOTE FOR ANGIE TODAY!!

8ball writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

For the record 26 in a row 47-6.. Go talk with the guy from ala who likes to feel football player with tight pants..

maddawg writes:

in response to Navalorange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Sorry navalorange, he is right. He knew what was going on with his friends even if he didn't smoke any that day or week before. He is just like janzen jackson. You don't hang around with thugs and not know whats going on. Take off your blinders man!

NickDanger-ThirdEye writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Fact: War Eagle

american_pitvol_terrier writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

It's sunday morning and here you are spewing your bull pucky on a VOL site as usual. Pompous, Pathetic...downright Pitiful. Don't you have some guys who fill out their uniforms REALLY well to go stare at? LahOO...SahERRR. LOSER!

HtownVol writes:

What is this I am reading on ESPN that says Justin Hunter may be giving up football?

It says this spring Hunter will decide to focus on only football or only track.

Does anyone know about this?

I seriously cant see Hunter giving up football. Everyone knows Hunter is the most talented up and coming WR in the SEC, along with the future gas pumper (Alshon)

UT is fairly loaded at WR in terms of talent but not in experience.

DaRick catching the TD in the bowl game was huge for him. I think it will give him the confidence to have a great season next year.

With Tyler Brays talent and the O-Line with 3 or 4 UA All-Americans and about 9-10 4 star recruits )although they are young also) UT will have a offense that will be better each week and in a year opr two UT will have the most explosive offense in the SEC.

And Hunter is the WR that is #1 in a depth chart that includes a ton of talent.

GO VOLS!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to HtownVol:

What is this I am reading on ESPN that says Justin Hunter may be giving up football?

It says this spring Hunter will decide to focus on only football or only track.

Does anyone know about this?

I seriously cant see Hunter giving up football. Everyone knows Hunter is the most talented up and coming WR in the SEC, along with the future gas pumper (Alshon)

UT is fairly loaded at WR in terms of talent but not in experience.

DaRick catching the TD in the bowl game was huge for him. I think it will give him the confidence to have a great season next year.

With Tyler Brays talent and the O-Line with 3 or 4 UA All-Americans and about 9-10 4 star recruits )although they are young also) UT will have a offense that will be better each week and in a year opr two UT will have the most explosive offense in the SEC.

And Hunter is the WR that is #1 in a depth chart that includes a ton of talent.

GO VOLS!

Witch Doctor say why dont you post link instead of telling us? Witch Doctor cant find ANYTHING on that subject. dubious at best
Bones never lie.

HtownVol writes:

in response to Witch_Doctors:

Witch Doctor say why dont you post link instead of telling us? Witch Doctor cant find ANYTHING on that subject. dubious at best
Bones never lie.

HtownVol writes:

How is that Doc?

I dont pay for ESPNinsider but that headline is not a good one for Vol fans to look at.

I am sure that it is making something of nothing though.

GO VOLS!

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to HtownVol:

How is that Doc?

I dont pay for ESPNinsider but that headline is not a good one for Vol fans to look at.

I am sure that it is making something of nothing though.

GO VOLS!

Witch Doctor say thats why Google couldnt find anything...ESPN trying to trick us to subscribe. Witch Doctor say young stud aint that dumb. Bones see BIG paycheck from NFL in his future..track not so much.
Bones never lie.

givehim6 writes:

in response to OldVols68:

I thought Bryce Brown was that "best back" the Vols had signed since Jamal:) Hopefully this kid turns out better.....

Yep, seems like have had a hard time keeping good RBs, hope Lane will change this.

givehim6 writes:

in response to givehim6:

Yep, seems like have had a hard time keeping good RBs, hope Lane will change this.

Ment to say seems like UT is having hard time with holding on to good RBs.

cjones72 writes:

I see a few trolls on here calling TENNESSEE thug U what i want to know is why hasnt anyone mentioned the 4 players from auburn that got kicked off the team for robbery and other charges .

gillblog writes:

Just once I would like to read about how well these kids did in the classroom while they were 'piling up yards' on the field.
Obviously, his athletic dedication and perseverence have been tested and he has responded well. The involvment with a drug-connected crowd is an all too familiar red flag, but not a conclusive indictment at this point. What I would be most impressed by is evidence of some academic dedication and perseverence. To me, that would say volumes about this young man's character. When you are doing something you love to do, playing football in this case, it's not quite so demanding on the mind and spirit to keep on working hard. But, when you are trying to develope something inside yourself with which you were perhaps not born gifted, the true nature of your character really comes forward.

murrayvol writes:

in response to Dead_Head_Vol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

We can do without that one.

murrayvol writes:

in response to xvolx:

I believe Dooley cares about these kids getting an education as well as playing football. I don't know what it is, but I think Dooley is a good coach. He should have gotten coach of the year. Going 6-6 with what he had to work with was an excellent piece of coaching. Let's all give this man a chance to build a program.

I think most of us are on that team xvol.

murrayvol writes:

in response to BigBadVol:

Could you be a bigger creep?

Oh yeah. Just give him time. He's a newbie.

Witch_Doctors writes:

in response to PHAT_VOL:

NOW THATS FUNNY RIGHT THERE. I tell you what thats funny. My big belly is still shaking. It looks like Japan. Laughed so hard I thought I was going to loose those two stacks of pancakes I just ate for breakfast.
Welcome young man glade to have ya. Do you have a brother?
Racial profiling is a terrible thing.
GO VOLS !!

Witch Doctor say worst when Witch Doctor call screwing with her one morning that I thought someone put a joint of *magic herb in my gig bag and it must have rolled out in the floorboard cause I cant find it(the car she driving to work) Witch Doctor had forgot all about gag and when she get home punch Witch Doctor in the belly HARD. Witch Doctor has learned over the years that not everyone appreciate Witch Doctor humor.
Bones never lie.

BankerVol writes:

in response to goodbad:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Goodbad... You are a POS coward hiding behind your keyboard. Get a life.

KingDanno (Inactive) writes:

Don't worry Lane, I've gotten all kinds of tattoos man. But I will always be a Vol for life. Trust me, you are in good hands with us. We have a great coach and staff, and Clemson can't touch our athletic facilities. We have tons of money to spend on you and developing your skills to the best that you can be, and with Sophomore Bray throwing, the run game will be wide open. You be dancing in the endzone for years to come.

jsmithnga#207674 writes:

in response to HtownVol:

What is this I am reading on ESPN that says Justin Hunter may be giving up football?

It says this spring Hunter will decide to focus on only football or only track.

Does anyone know about this?

I seriously cant see Hunter giving up football. Everyone knows Hunter is the most talented up and coming WR in the SEC, along with the future gas pumper (Alshon)

UT is fairly loaded at WR in terms of talent but not in experience.

DaRick catching the TD in the bowl game was huge for him. I think it will give him the confidence to have a great season next year.

With Tyler Brays talent and the O-Line with 3 or 4 UA All-Americans and about 9-10 4 star recruits )although they are young also) UT will have a offense that will be better each week and in a year opr two UT will have the most explosive offense in the SEC.

And Hunter is the WR that is #1 in a depth chart that includes a ton of talent.

GO VOLS!

I read an interview this week about long range decision to prepare for the NFL or the Olympics; he didn't indicate that he was giving up either fb or track, but would make a decision on future emphasis the spring of soph season.

abnermc writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Saban? Isn't he the coach who was picked to finish 1st in the nation because he had the most talent? But wait, he finished 4th in the west; lost to his main rival after being spotted 24 points. Yeah , we all want to be like SABAN.lol Just a couple of FACTS you forgot to mention. I do appreciate the fact that you didn't mention the 87 Tide national titles. (even some titles w/ a losing season). Now go away.

YokeyouthVol writes:

You know what they say, you can't spell.....
Felon,
Loser,
Overrated,
Retarded,
Incarcerated,
DiKK hed,
Anal pirates
...............without Florida!!!

thetrollhunter writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Shouldn't you be poisoning some trees right now you inbreed loony?
It's easy to see why people think your fan base is classless and, well generally unintelligent band-wagoners

Also, from what I understand, Crimson is the color most worn at "coming out parties"

skyhawk836 writes:

in response to shen24:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Never seen a person more obsessed with shades of color and how grown men look wearing them.
You're a doll.

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