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Marcus Dupree
Date of birth: May 22, 1964 (1964-05-22) (age 45)
Place of birth: Philadelphia, Mississippi, U.S.
Career information
Position(s): RB
College: Oklahoma
NFL Draft: 1986 / Round: 12 / Pick 327
Organizations
 As player:
1984-1985

1990–1991
New Orleans Breakers/Portland Breakers (USFL)
Los Angeles Rams
Playing stats at DatabaseFootball.com

Marcus L. Dupree (born May 22, 1964 in Philadelphia, Mississippi) was one of the most highly recruited high school football players ever. Dupree was so heavily recruited that Willie Morris wrote a book about his recruiting called The Courting of Marcus Dupree.

Contents

Career

High school

Marcus played high school football for the Philadelphia High School Tornadoes from 1978 to 1981. As a freshman in 1978, he ran a 4.4 40-yard dash. He had a 75-yard kickoff return touchdown on his first play in high school. He scored five touchdowns and had seven more on kick and punt returns.

As a sophomore in 1979, Dupree was switched to running back and rushed for 1,850 yards with 28 touchdowns. He was also an integral part of the 1979-80 basketball team which finished the year with a 33-4 record and was eliminated in the semifinals of the state basketball tournament.

His junior year in 1980, he rushed for 1,550 yards with 20 touchdowns. Marcus had four more touchdowns on only five kick returns.

In 1981, his senior year, Dupree rushed for 1,955 yards with 26 touchdowns. That gave him 87 high school touchdowns to break the record set by Herschel Walker by one. He finished high school with 5284 rushing yards on 8.3 yards per carry.

Marcus Dupree was recruited by every major football program in the nation. Notable among them were UCLA, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi State, Georgia, Oklahoma, LSU, Southern Mississippi, and Pittsburgh. Dupree famously received a visit via private plane from Billy Sims urging him to attend Oklahoma, which he did.

College

His freshman season at Oklahoma in 1982 was astonishing, though it began slowly. He did not get to start until four games into the season, when Barry Switzer decided to switch to the I formation to better utilize Dupree's abilities. After this change, he took the conference by storm. He had four 100-yard rushing games including 158 yards against Kansas on October 16, after which he was given the starting tailback position over Stanley Wilson by OU head coach Barry Switzer. He was also named Big Eight "Offensive Player of the Week" for that game.

Marcus finished the season with 905 yards on 129 carries with 13 touchdowns for a 7.8 yard per carry average. He was named Big 8 "Newcomer of the Year" and was also named to the AP All-Big Eight first team and to UPI's All-Big Eight second team. A drama professor at Oklahoma even wrote a song about Marcus called "Mr. Marvelous". The November 1982 Sports Illustrated issue featured Marcus on the cover.

On January 1, 1983, Oklahoma played Arizona State in the Fiesta Bowl. Marcus started the game, but had to leave three times due to a broken finger, an ankle injury, a rib injury and a pulled hamstring. Amazingly, in a little over 1/2 of the game's playing time, he amassed a rushing total of 239 yards on only 17 carries, averaging over 14 yards every time he carried the ball from scrimmage. In doing so, he set the rushing record for yards in the Fiesta Bowl and was named the MVP of the game, though Arizona State won the game. After the game, Coach Switzer publicly criticized his work ethic, worsening an already tense relationship between the two, but after his remarkable freshman year, Marcus was widely considered the front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy as a Sophomore.

His much-anticipated sophomore season did not turn out as planned, however. Hampered by injuries, Marcus still managed to gain 369 yards on 61 carries with three touchdowns in the first four games of the season. After suffering a concussion in a loss against Texas, he vanished for a week. When he resurfaced in Mississippi, he announced he was leaving OU and transferred to University of Southern Mississippi. Told that because of NCAA rules, he would have to sit out the 1984 season, he left after three months.

USFL

Marcus was signed by the New Orleans Breakers of the United States Football League in 1984. He gained 684 yards on 145 carries with 9 touchdowns for a 4.7 yards per carry average. He had two 100-yard rushing games. He was often injured and Buford Jordan was the starting tailback most of that season.

The Breakers moved to Portland, Oregon for the 1985 season. Dupree was late arriving at Breakers' training camp in San Dimas, California that season, but performed well enough to earn a starting position for the season opener at Sun Devil Stadium against the Arizona Outlaws. While carrying the ball early in the second half, Dupree sustained a blow to his upper body, but it was his knee that gave out. This very severe injury ended his USFL experience. He had surgery and recuperated in Portland, celebrating his 21st birthday with friends and teammates. In the game he had 69 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown.

NFL

Marcus tried to come back during the 1987 National Football League strike with a tryout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His knee failed the physical and he seemed to give up on playing again.

Walter Payton met Marcus on some business ventures and urged him to get back into shape to tryout for the NFL again in 1990. Marcus agreed to do so and got back to running a 4.5 40 yard dash and was eventually signed by the Los Angeles Rams, whose coaching staff included Dupree's former USFL coach Dick Coury. On week nine of the 1990 season, Marcus got into the game and rushed for 22 yards on four carries. He wore number 34 in honor of Payton instead of his usual number 22. He started his first game on week 16 and rushed for 42 yards on 13 carries. He finished his first NFL season with 72 yards on 19 carries.

In 1991, Marcus played more often and scored his only NFL touchdown that season. He finished that season with 179 yards on 49 carries with one touchdown.

In 1992, Marcus led the Rams in rushing in the pre-season but was cut, and retired shortly afterward. He finished his career with 251 yards on 68 carries with a single touchdown for a 3.7 yards per carry average.

Post NFL

Marcus has involved himself in many ventures since then. He was an executive host for a casino, and a professional wrestler for the USWA in 1995 (He was trained by Tom Prichard). Marcus Dupree also scouted for Washington Redskins and was a General Manager for an arena football team. His brother Reggie lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and his mother Cella Dupree passed away in November 2004 of cancer. He has three sons, Marquez, Landon, and Tometrick.

ESPN has announced that an hour-long documentary on Dupree is in production, to be directed by Jonathan Hock. It will air in 2010 as part of the "30 for 30" series of 30 films celebrating ESPN's 30th anniversary.

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