Target 2004: Marcus Rush

ROCKINGHAM – Whether or not Richmond County tailback Marcus Rush will be big enough to make an impact at the Division I level remains to be seen. He is a little undersized at 5-foot-9, 170 pounds.

But Rush, who has a brown belt in karate, is used to being told he is too small. His is used to regularly proving his doubters wrong.

"His height is going to be a factor," Raiders assistant Jeff Simpson said. "But the kid is a football player, and a football player is a football player."

What Rush lacks in height, he makes up for with talent, strength and speed.

His bench press and squat numbers are 255 and 375 pounds, respectively. And his 40-time continues to shrink; his latest clocked at 4.39 seconds.

"He is a threat to score on every play," head coach Ed Emory said. "He runs as though he is being propelled by a rubber band. He can flat out run away from you in the open field."

On a team with lots of stars, Rush carried the ball 170 times for 1,218 yards (7.2 yards per carry) and a team-high 18 touchdowns.

Rush was used sparingly as a receiver due to the abundance of talent that the Raiders have at that position. However, he did haul in 11 catches for 133 yards – over 12 yards per reception.

He also returned kicks at a per-average clip of better than 30 yards.

"Our stats aren't going to be as good as some others, because we take our starters out when we get way ahead," Emory said. "If we get four touchdowns ahead, I'm not going to keep my best players on the field. I've lost one like that before."

Rush was named All-Mid-Southeastern conference in 2002, along with teammates Jamar Bryant, a UNC prospect, and Patrick Hope who was recently cleared to walk-on at Carolina.

One thing is for sure, if Rush does become a well-known college back, he has a great name for his position.

Another thing is certain. Rush would dearly love to play football at UNC.

He had to struggle to come with his second and third choices, which are currently N.C. State and Wake Forest. Two and three are a long way from No. 1.

"I always liked Carolina when I was little," Rush said.

When he was asked if the Tar Heels 3-9 record in 2002 was discouraging, Rush said, "I don't think anything of it."

Rush is just the latest in a long line of family members to play at Richmond Senior. His father Isaiah was a quarterback from 1980 to 1982, and three of his cousins played for the Raiders.

At nearly every home game, at least 20 of his relatives can be seen in the stands at Raider Stadium.

"I was raised on Richmond football," Rush told the Charlotte Observer. "Being the running back here is like being the star. So I want to try to make the best of it and give myself an opportunity to play in college. And I've got another year after this. So I've got to work out really hard and punch it next year so hopefully I can do (well) and try to break something."

Marcus Rush
Position: TB
Ht: 5-9
Wt: 170
40-Time: 4.39
BP: 255
Squat: 375

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