By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Adrian Marcus is listed as a fullback, a title that implies certain limitations. Which means it’s not the most accurate label for him.
Marcus certainly looks the part: He’s 5-foot-10, 235 pounds, and the third-year sophomore remains a walk-on for Mississippi State. He can block, sure, but there’s a lot more to his game.
“He’s a versatile guy. He plays tailback and fullback, so we can use him both ways,” running backs coach Greg Knox said. “He’s excelling in both areas.”
In 12 games last season, Marcus saw time with the offense and on special teams, and posted modest numbers of 48 rushing yards on 14 carries. He was never stopped behind the line of scrimmage.
Marcus has had a strong offseason, highlighted by the Maroon-White spring game, when he led the White squad with 33 rushing yards. Most of the carries this fall will go to Vick Ballard, LaDarius Perkins and quarterback Chris Relf, but coaches want to get Marcus some touches, including in the passing game.
“They’re giving me all the chances I need,” Marcus said. “I’ve got to take advantage of them when I get them.”
Marcus is grateful for any chances at this level. Not highly recruited out of Thompson High School in Alabaster, Ala., he enrolled at the Naval Academy Preparatory School with the intention of moving on to Annapolis.
“I really didn’t like the military life, it wasn’t really for me,” he said. “I wanted to play football, and I wanted to play at a big-time program. I got to come here in the SEC.”
MSU was an easy choice for Marcus, mainly because his uncle, Michael Montgomery, was an offensive lineman for the Bulldogs from 1990-93.
In Marcus. State got more than just a versatile fullback, it got someone who’s as focused on success off the field as on it.
Marcus, a marketing major, was involved in FCA in high school and was named a Birmingham News Scholar Athlete.
“It’s just how I was raised,” he said. “Mom and Dad always pushed me. Believe in God – I was raised in a church home.”
Knox called Marcus “a very inspirational kid to our team. I think the kids feed off his energy.”
Marcus tries hard to be an example and has the respect of his teammates. One could say he’s the model walk-on.
He hopes he can be a model scholarship player soon. Coach Dan Mullen hands out scholarships to certain walk-ons every year, and he has a few more to spare for this season.
Marcus looks to former fullback Patrick Hanrahan and current fullback Sylvester Hemphill for inspiration – both earned scholarships after walking on.
“I’m just going to go out there and work hard, do my best, do whatever coach wants me to do,” Marcus said. “If I get my scholarship, I get it. I’ll earn it.”