LION GAMEDAY FEATURE: MARCUS GRAHAM - RUSHING THROUGH ADVERSITY
This article originally appeared in the Lion Gameday football program for the Sept. 22 game against Ouachita Baptist. Check each Lion football program for features, interviews and insights into a handful of Lion football players.
By Justin Cheatham
Sports Editor • The East Texan
Marcus Graham is about to break into the all-time rushing leaders for the team with only 340 yards before he reaches tenth place. However, football is not the only thing he spends long hours working on at A&M-Commerce.
"You have to really understand what you priorities are and what you need to be doing," Graham said. "This semester all of my classes are online and I have grown to love online classes because you can just go online, find out the due dates, then relax and make sure everything is done on time. Once you have that then fitting in the football schedule is easy because it's the same every day."
Marcus began his love affair with football as early as possible, trying to join a team when he was only five years old; but, he was forced to wait another year due to age restrictions. His family moved to Round Rock, Texas, when he was eleven, where he says he spent most of his time growing up before attending A&M-Commerce.
Unfortunately in recent weeks, tragedy struck as his family's home in central Texas was one of the homes burned by the wildfires earlier this year. But his positive outlook was only momentarily shaken.
"The initial thought when that happened was very hard on me but what helped me out a lot was constantly talking to my mom and dad everyday and them being so positive about things really helped me out a lot," Graham said.
"Calling my mom everyday and her not even worrying about the situation and asking me what is going on in my life, distracting me from what happened made me feel good. She told me not to worry about it because things were taken care of, it makes things a lot easier on me knowing that it's on the back of their mind. I know it's a tragedy where lives were lost but my mom and dad are dealing with it really well."
With a calming demeanor about the devastating wildfires, Graham said he appreciates the support coming from students and staff.
"The biggest comfort is people asking what they can do to help and I tell my mom that, her reply is to tell people to keep sending their prayers because their biggest concern is the people who didn't have any insurance or anybody to fall back on," he said. "She is really trying to help them right now because they (his parents) have insurance and church family to support them but it is a lot worse for the people who lost everything."
Graham's focus on football started when he first arrived at Commerce without a spot on the football team.
"Coming here I was actually a walk-on," he said. "My first year I redshirted, the second season I did not play, which is why I actually have an extra year of eligibility. I started off as a receiver the first three games of my first season and then the rest of the season I spent time at running back."
Graham has been pushing through adversity and literally running with his opportunities ever since.
"I usually try and work out two to three times a day, depending on my class schedule and things like that," Graham said. "Basically I'm either in the weight room, watching film, or outside running. My life revolves around football, especially in the summer when I have nothing else to do."
With his time playing football coming to an end, Graham has been spending his time off the field attaining his undergraduate degree in construction science and working on his masters degree in technology management. His perseverance and hard work on and off the field has paid off in more ways than one.
"I actually had an internship last year at a contracting company in Austin," he said. "I started out as an estimator and I moved up to a project manager. I kind of fell in love with being a project manager, and when I left that company they offered me a job when I finish school. So we'll just have to see what the future holds for me."
It's easy to see how the 5'8," 188-pound running back earned his spot on the team's starting line-up. And it's even easier to see how his continued hard work will earn him a spot on the all-time rushers at the university. Which in turn, give him a chance to give back to those who have always had his back since day one.lassic, but Marcus is ready and confident.
"Anybody rooting for the Lions, we will not let you down," Graham said. "That's my prediction because we are out there every day executing what we need to do so that on Saturdays you can come out and see the true results of the Lion football team."
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