Walk on of the Week: Marcus Ford

With the hire of Rick Trickett, it looks like FSU's struggles at this position will turn for the best in a matter of time. One player that has welcomed the changes is ND's Walk-on of the Week, Marcus Ford. We caught up with the redshirt senior from Brunswick, GA to discuss how he became a walk-on for the Noles, his thoughts on the team and coaching changes, as well as his plans for the future.

Marcus is like most walk-ons in that he played football in high school, but was not recruited that heavily. When asked to talk about how becoming a walk-on at FSU, Marcus says, "In high school I played both ways my last two years. My first two years I was a defensive end. Going into my senior year the coaches approached me about moving to left tackle. At first I didn't like it because I was used to defense, but whatever was good for the team was good for me. Whatever we needed to help win was good. The only offer I got in high school was from the Naval Academy, but after high school I thought I just wanted to be done playing football. I always thought that I wanted to leave the state of Georgia to go to college, and that is what I did. In May 2001 I graduated and moved to Tallahassee where I joined the working world. After doing that for a couple years I decided that to be truly successful I needed a college degree, so I went back to school in 2003. After getting back into school I got the desire back to play football. After that I contacted Jody Allen and asked him what I needed to do to walk-on to the team."

It is common that many kids try to walk-on to powerhouse programs like Florida State, but often times these kids cannot carry on their dream due to the arduous process walking-on entails. After a few years off of football, Marcus was able to complete his dream. "When I talked to Coach Allen, he gave me the information I needed to complete the process. At the end of February 2005 I tried out and made it. The walk-on process at Florida State makes you realize you want to play football. If you don't want it, you won't make it. I worked out hard everyday leading up to the tryout. Everyday I was lifting from 8 am until 10 am. After that I spent two hours running. I trained hard because this was a big commitment for me," Marcus stated.

The coaching changes made a ton of headlines this past off-season for the Noles. Coach Trickett is considered to be one of the best moves the Noles made, and is often regarded as one of the best at his job in the game today. Marcus sees the changes from the past few years. "With Coach Trickett it is an adventure out there. A lot of people know he was in the military, and he was in Vietnam, so he brings that real disciplinary approach to the game. He is real hands on, in your face, grabbing your facemask and all. Not everyone can handle it. But what he is doing is making us mentally stronger so we keep fighting through every game. One thing I can say for sure is that I am in a lot better shape than I was last year. I feel like I can do a lot more than I could last year. Had we had this conditioning last year, I really feel we could have gotten those plays we needed to win the close games we had last year. We had 5 games where we lost by 7 or less points. I think we could have made the majority of those games wins if we had this same conditioning that we have now. We are just better off across the board. We are willing to go through the process of working hard to get to the conference championship game and get it done," says Marcus.

Like most walk-ons, Marcus has a yearning to play and help the Noles produces great results on the field, as he got a chance last year when some of the players were injured during the season. This season has been a little different in that he hasn't played, but Marcus says that's okay, "I haven't played ball at all this year, but I am okay with that if it makes the team better. I want to play, but what is best for the team is best for the team. If there are guys who are better than me, I want them to play so the team does well. For me it is all about the scout team. I think this is the best thing for me to help the team. We are working just as hard as the others. We work on making the team better in every way we can. For me I try to stay goal-oriented trying to make the team better. I have seen so many good players that were walk-ons get frustrated and quit because they weren't playing. For me I have to keep it in perspective and know that we are doing a good job getting the team ready."

Being that he is a redshirt senior, Marcus, as well as the team, has several goals going into this year. Even with the early loss to Clemson, the majority of their goals are still possible. "Our expectations have not changed after the tough loss to Clemson. We want to get to the ACC Championship game, win that, and go to a BCS bowl. They are all still in reach. The team isn't down and our positive attitudes haven't changed. A lot of us are tired of the same old story missing the one play here or there that could win us these close games, so we are working harder and staying positives to change that. Basically we are hungry to get back to where FSU was and should be. We are getting ready for the Bama game now, and we have a lot to prove. We have been getting a lot more focused during this off-week. These types of games are the ones that put FSU on the map. They are 3-1, and are in some ways the same position as us in that they feel they have a lot to prove and are hungry. They have good athletes, we have good athletes; it is almost like a mirror match in that we are going to playing versus ourselves in this game. With the fact that we are evenly matched, it is going to come down to who wants it more," said Marcus.

Marcus is a great kid who is also a fantastic student-athlete. His long-term view his plans show that he is going to be a success in whatever he plans on doing. Marcus is a double-major in Accounting and Finance, and he talks about why he wanted to major in that, "After working for a couple years after high school I wanted to get a business degree. I really feel that anyone who is involved in athletics should get a business degree because it helps people learn how to control their money. I want to know what is going on with my finances, so that is why I am pursuing this degree."

When asked if he is going to pursue a career in the NFL, Marcus stated, "I've always had that thought that life comes by one time, so I am going to try it. If it doesn't work out, so be it. I have a timeframe set on this goal. After that has passed and I don't make it, it will be time to move on. I am looking to pursue a career in financial advising or investment banking because I want to educate people how to take care of their money."

Stay tuned to NoleDigest for other updates on Marcus and the other walk-ons at Florida State.

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