VIRGINIA BEACH (WAVY) – Any given Friday night around Hampton Roads, some of the best high school football players from around the country are competing. That’s why college coaches consistently pluck talent for their respective programs to come play at the next level.
Dre Bly and Marques Hagans, Hampton Roads natives, were once prospects themselves. Bly graduated from Western Branch in 1995 and Hagans from Hampton High School in 2000.
“I was a lot like them growing up,” Hagans said when talking about current prospects coming out of Hampton Roads and how he relates. “I had an opportunity to get out and make something of myself, go to college, get a degree, get drafted and play in the NFL and now coach college kids. I think it’s inspiring and gives them hope they can become anything they put their mind to what they want to accomplish.”
Dre Bly was an All-American out of North Carolina, where he is now the cornerbacks coach for Mack Brown, the coach that originally recruited him to become a Tar Heel back in 1995.
“Mack Brown recruited a kid in me that came from a great family, a kid that was confident and hungry to get out the neighborhood,” Bly said. “Those are some of the things and tangibles I look for … this area is loaded with prospects as I was one and Marques was one, that’s one of the things I think most coaches try to look for in players.”
Bly and Hagans are both now tasked with recruiting Hampton Roads for UNC and UVA, respectively.
“I just tell my story. What it means to be a Tar Heel and what being a Tar Heel has done for me and my family,” Bly said.
“We just love tough, hard-working kids. That’s the backbone of our program,” Hagans said, talking about the relationship between UVA and 757 prospects. “We love to get them from this state and we’ll continue to keep building that network across Virginia and wherever it extends from there.”