A Blessing In Disguise

Texas defensive back Marcus Cromartie is only a senior in high school but he's lived a life of someone well beyond his years. The 6-foot-1, 170-pounder, from Timberview high in Mansfield came a long way to visit Madison this past weekend and he's come even further in the game of life.

Marcus Cromartie grew up in New Orleans and saw his fair share of hurricanes. He attended Ben Franklin high school as a freshman and was named rookie of the year and was also a stand-out on the track team and that's when his and so many others lives were turned upside down.

"I've seen hurricanes come and go," Marcus Cromartie told Badger Nation. "We'd leave and come back in 3-or-4 days but this time it was different. Katrina was horrible. Normally we'd be able to recover and get back to normal but not this time.

"My dad and I got in our car and drove 13 hours to Memphis from New Orleans. The trip usually takes five hours tops. The traffic was so bad that people were running out of gas on the highway.

"When we finally arrived in Memphis, things got even worse. We didn't hear from any family for three days including my mom. Finally after three days we were able to get my mom on the phone and that was a relief."

It seemed like the World was Cromartie's oyster before Katrina and now his entire foundation was shaken. Most people would've mailed it in but Marcus knew how to turn a negative into a positive.

"We ended up moving to Texas because we had some family there." Cromartie said. "We lived in a hotel for three months and I had to drive an hour round-trip to school. To be honest with you, it was a blessing in disguise.

In New Orleans, I went to a school that stressed academics and that was nice but I never would've gotten the exposure that I'm getting now in Texas.

"I'll never forget where I came from and what we went through as a family and all the other friends and families that had to leave New Orleans because of the hurricane but I believe in my heart that I have everything that I have now because of what happened. It was God's will."

Cromartie has offers from Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Florida, Kansas and Air Force. Marcus committed to the Badgers in May but after his official visit this past weekend, he says he'll take all five visits before making a final decision.

"I had a great time on my (Wisconsin) official visit," Cromartie said. "Nick Toon and Jay Valai were my hosts. Both guys were great and fun to be around. Jay and I are really cool now and we'll be keeping in touch.

"I loved Wisconsin. It has everything that I'm looking for. I know Coach Bielema is going to be there for awhile. The program is one of the best in the country, the academics are great and so are the facilities.

"I'm going to take all my visits and I'll tell you why. This was the first college football game I've ever been too. I haven't visited any schools and I owe it to myself to make sure that I make the right decision.

"Again, I had a great time. The students at Wisconsin are crazy. The never sit down and the "Jump Around" between the third and fourth quarters was unbelievable. The whole visit was real nice.

"From this point forward, I know I'll visit Texas A&M, Florida and Kansas. There could be another visit in there as well.."

Marcus Cromartie was named all-district as a junior. He had 40 solo tackles and an interception on a team that only allowed 90 yards per game on average. Marcus is also a standout track athlete and he ran a 21.7 200 meter dash.

The Badger recruiting efforts for Cromartie are being led by Kerry Cooks.

Badger Nation Top Stories