Mr. Jones

30 Aug

University of Minnesota CB #15 Marcus Jones

I love a touching story, especially in the realm of college athletics.  Granted, I am in a small bubble when it comes to my bias towards Minnesota sports, however, a good story is a good story, no matter where you come from.  Especially one about a student athlete overcoming adversity, a medical one in this case.  And, as it turns out, an educational one perhaps as well.  In a matter of a couple minutes of reading, I was introduced to the character of University of Minnesota junior football player, cornerback Marcus Jones.

You see Marcus has overcome something very few of us after-work-hit-the-gym athletes has ever experienced- an ACL knee injury.  Twice.  Once in each knee.  Watching Minnesota Vikings’ running back Adrian Peterson recover from this type of injury didn’t make Marcus’ recovery amazing to me.  What did was his motivation.  Lost in all the drama about the NCAA making billions of dollars on college athletics is the real reason the student athlete is called such- they are students.

Marcus was asked why put oneself through the rehab, twice in two years, for ACL knee injuries to merely play a violent sport such as football, a tough task for someone who is 5’8” tall weighing 166 pounds:

Why? Whooo. I don’t know. There’s so much about it that I love. I even love the summer workouts. I love everything about the game.  A lot of it is the camaraderie between teammates. A lot of it is that you get to use that aggression, that speed. Everything that is a positive for you, you get to use to your advantage.  I couldn’t play basketball. I was too small. I tried baseball for a while and had a couple of injuries there. Football has meant a lot to me. You get a scholarship to play and a lot of your life turns into football at that point, because you’re so grateful, because a lot of people do not get this opportunity.  Football means so much because, the way I see it, if it wasn’t for college football, I wouldn’t get an education.

That last sentence stopped me.  You can feel those words he spoke.  He’s so motivated simply because of the opportunity to go to college, something you never hear in the age of big NFL contracts and autograph hawking Heisman trophy winners.  Marcus is the kind of kid I want going to my alma mater.  Marcus has the kind of character I want playing on the University of Minnesota football team.  If fact, his presence, which includes both those repaired knees, was immensely felt in the first game of this collegiate season.  At the start of the second half of last night’s 51-23 victory by the University of Minnesota over UNLV, he returned the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.  A very nice opening chapter to the Marcus Jones story this year.


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