Marcus Jeter: Multi-Sport Star Hoping Football Is His Calling
By: Michael Aaron Chase Jr.
When a young man is in search of his calling, life can take him down many roads. For sports in particular, they certainly provides an outlet for many to find where they belong, as well as, figure out who they are. Sports provide great opportunities because individuals can have a passion for one sport, but achieve highly in a separate sport. This is why there are such things as multi-sport athletes, who are individuals who thrive in multiple sports. Although each athlete in the end usually figures out what sport will lead them to the greatest realm of success. For Marcus Jeter his personal sports journey has lead him from a multi-sport life, to one currently looking advance a football career. Thus as I found out in a recent interview we did football may not have been his first love, but it certainly has brought the best career opportunities.
Marcus Jeter, 23 years old, was born in Roanoke, Virginia. He currently lives in Covington, Virginia a place as he stated, “Is a very Blue Collar town. Small town Covington.” He described the town as a tight knit, family oriented community as well. Thus Jeter certainly had a great opportunity to grow up in a very family centered community which helped shape his personal values. Family influence also helped shape his path in sports as this influence lead him originally to play basketball. Jeter said, “I actually started off as a basketball player.” As he described this was partly influenced by his dad playing basketball and being very good at it which enticed him play. As he stated, “basketball was my first love, and football came late for me around the age of 9 or 10.” Jeter also talked on how his Dad eventually put him into football, because his size made him bigger than a majority of the competition. He even described how he was 130 pounds heavier than most other kids when he played as he headed toward his high school years. Thus as we continued toward talking about the start of his football journey I learned more about his versatile sports career.
We started with his High School sports career which took place at Covington High School. Where I found out he not only played football, but basketball and track as well. He told me how he was 250 pounds when he got to high school and then lost significant weight to get down to 215. In regards to Basketball he told me he played Center, and both forward positions again because of his size. But he was very good at the game and really enjoyed playing. He then described how he transitioned from focusing on Basketball season, to track and football once the season ended. As Jeter stated,” I did not think too much of it”, also speaking to how it was a seamless transition for him. He ultimately ended up playing basketball all 4 years at Covington High, but football in the end still became his greatest avenue toward initial career advancement. During his high school football career Marcus Jeter very quickly showed off his versatility on the field. He played running back defensive end, defensive tackle, as well as, offensive at tackle and guard. Though it was the defensive line where his talents really showed at a high level. As Jeter put it,” being on both the offensive and defensive line involves being very technical. There are a lot of times where you have to outsmart your opponents, because sometimes being stronger and faster is not always the better option.” Though as he later concluded, “it certainly does help.” I then asked about his memorable moments and achievements in his High School career. Jeter went on to describe a memorable time from his junior season when his team had a deep playoff run. He went on to depict how they were playing a rival of the school Bath County and he batted a pass on the goal-line to prevent a score. This as he said was a tide turning play as they went on to win the game, an experience he describe would always resonate with him. Ultimately though I found out his passion for football really did not grow until his junior year. As he described, “when I got scouted, I realized I could go to College for this and I needed to put even more of my energy into football.”
From there we transitioned our conversation toward his College career. Jeter attended Ferrum College, in Southern Virginia where he began to play defensive end more exclusively. He spoke on how his senior class turned program around during his time there. Going from 1-9, to 2-8, to 6-4 all the way to an 8-2 record in his final season. This achievement was not only a gradual one, but through listening to him talk about his experience I understood this was more of a team achievement than an individual one. We then moved to more individual topics beginning with a discussion on his skills and development as a player. When asked about his best skills as a defensive lineman he stated,” I have a knack for getting to the quarterback.” Continuing,” I like my chances with my pass rush skills versus one on one opportunities. And as I say, if I do not get to the quarterback individually then me and the lineman are going to go get him.” Then I asked him about what parts of his game he wants to improve. He responded, “There are always things to improve, always in a growth mode.” Continuing,” It depends on what scheme you play to be honest. 3-4 to 4-3 big changes especially for interior lineman.” Thus Jeter has great belief in his abilities, but knows the work to become great never stops.
We turned our conversation then to the Beyond Sports Network Combine which Jeter stated he is participating in. When I asked about what he most wanted to display at the Combine he stated,” specifically show off my 40 time and bench press. Mostly because on tape people only see defensive lineman run at most 10 yards on a rush.” Though he also said,” I am hopeful to just play the sport I loves to play. But the Combine should be pretty cool and I can’t wait.” I then asked him to describe what he would say to a professional Scout or GM to convince them to draft or sign him. He went on to depict,” Yes I know I am a Division 3 athlete. All I know though is I work really hard. I am not a flashy player and do as I am told.” He continued saying,” My job is just as much to help others and hard work and determination is all I know. Plus I know it takes 11 players on both sides to be successful and I am willing to just do my part and if others succeed I succeed.” Jeter concluded his dream professional team to play for would be the Washington Redskins when I asked him. He also said the Panthers would be a great team as well. Though he did state,” I would love to keep it close to home, but I will honestly take any team that will take a chance on me.
Overall through my conversation with Marcus Jeter I learned that this young man has a great understanding of where he comes from, and the opportunity afforded him. He is a young man more about team before individual success, but also strives to be an elite at his position as an individual. He spoke a lot on how he wants give back to his hometown when and if he makes it in professional football. Thus clearly wanting to be a positive influence on the place who influenced him. Ultimately as a football player his versatility and work ethic make him very attractive as a defensive lineman and player overall. Though there is something scouts should very much understand in the end is that if they take a chance on Marcus Jeter. They should know they are not just getting a play-maker on the field, but a young man who can well represent their organization and produce an off the field for others as well as on the field for the team.