During his 9th grade year, he played football and even back then he knew he had the gift of speed. "I was the fastest player on the football team," Marquis said. A friend of his noticed how fast he was and told him he ought to run track so he changed sports and ran track his 10th grade year. That was the year he won the State on pure talent along.
Things didn't work out as he had planned so he wound up at St. Augustine College in North Carolina, a division-2 team, after his high school career was over. The summer after his freshman year at St. Augustine, he ran track unattached.
On May 18th, 2000, Marquis ran a blazing 10.11 seconds in the 100 meters and a phenomenal 20.27 second 200 meters. Those two times wound up ranking him as the the 27th fastest human in the world in the 100 meters and the 30th fastest human in the 200 meters at the end of year 2000. And he was still just 19 years old when he ran those two times. What is even more phenomenal is he ran those times while carrying 220 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame.
That was when the world of track started noticing this amazing sprinter from Memphis, Tennessee. Marquis knew then that his talent was in track and the world knew it also. "I was beating pros and getting recognized outside of Tennessee because of my times," Marquis said.
Marquis now began thinking about transferring to a bigger school where he could develop his talent to its fullest. According to Marquis, "I decided to look elsewhere to pursue my dreams."
When it became known that Marquis was looking to move on to a bigger school, his recruitment took off almost as fast as he can run. However, because he had also played football in high school, some schools wanted him to play football as well. Marquis had no problem with that.
"I was recruited by Mississippi State, TCU, Nebraska for football, LSU, Florida State for football and Ole Miss for track. Ole Miss thought I was crazy for wanting to play football," said Marquis with a chuckle. "People have told me that I am so muscular that I can play both sports and I want to play both sports. I ran a 4.1 in the forty in Florida during the Pan Am games during the summer of 2000."
After an intense recruiting battle, Mississippi State track won out. But then they already had an edge, an edge that would have been very tough to overcome for just about any school.
"My dad loves the Bulldogs," said Marquis. "He had dreams of me playing for a big school like Mississippi State. I wanted to help make his dreams come true."
With the recruitment over, Marquis was set to attend MSU during the fall of 2001. But he ran into a snag, he was short a couple of classes and had to pass them prior to transferring to D-I.
Although disappointed at first, he now has overcome his disappointment and is presently taking those classes and doing quite well. Marquis said that, "I have straight A's in all of my classes." If he keeps his academics in order, he will be able to attend his school of choice this January.
Knowing that he is a world class sprinter and will be able to participate in track this spring, schools came calling again.
"There are five schools that are recruiting me", said Marquis. "Memphis, of course, is recruiting me. They are recruiting me for both track and football. Nebraska is still recruiting me. They are recruiting me for both. Ole Miss is still recruiting me for track. LSU is recruiting me for both sports. Mississippi State is also recruiting me."
While he is being heavily recruited by those schools, he said he is still firm in his commitment to MSU. "I have pretty much settled on Mississippi State," according to Marquis. "MSU is close to home. And I want to be close to home so my family can come see me. I don't want to go too far away like Nebraska. Plus, I really like the coaches at MSU."
With his choice pretty much settled, he is now looking forward to helping the MSU track team accomplish something that it has never accomplished and that is winning the NCAA national championship. "I want to help MSU win the NCAA in track," said Marquis. "I feel that Mississippi State has the tools to win it and I want to help them win it."
Marquis knows that track is the sport that has made him a world wide name but he also knows that his talent can help him live out a dream of playing college football and possibly even playing in the NFL. "If the chance comes for me to play football for Mississippi State, I'll do it," said Marquis. "I would have to sit out a year since I would be coming from division 2. That's ok because I want to be there for them."
The next question is what position will he play at Mississippi State if he does play football? Mississippi State loses its two starting Dog Safeties and two of its wide receivers to graduation. Marquis played both of those positions in high school and even a little running back. The determining factors: Does he have the hitting ability to play Dog Safety or does he have the hands to play wide receiver? No matter what position he plays, he definitely has the size for both, now weighing in at a muscular 198 pounds on his 6-foot-2 frame.
While waiting for the spring semester to roll around, Marquis is not just sitting around day dreaming during his spare time. "I work out every day," commented Marquis. "I'm working out hard every day. I'm pushing it to the max. I'm sore now from working out. I'm really focused. I'm just working on my start and my technique right now, just getting strength."
Now, Mississippi State fans can do nothing but anxiously wait for this truly special athlete to arrive on campus. And they can also ask themselves the question: 'Will he play football?'
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at email@example.com.