MARQUETTE — A recent study conduct by the NCAA says that just 1.5% of college football players make it to the National Football League. Some would look at those numbers and become discouraged…while others take the challenge on for a chance to chase their dreams.
Last year, after a prolific career at Northern Michigan, wide receiver Marcus Tucker was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as he spent most of the season on the team’s practice squad. And now he’s back in town, getting ready for the upcoming NFL season.
“I love the community here. I love the people. I love the whole atmosphere and vibe of Marquette. I’m still very close with a lot of teammates that I played with in the past and some are still on the team. It’s just a blessing that I was able to come to a school where I can make lifelong connections,” said Tucker.
With NFL training camp right around the corner, Tucker will be spending most of his time at Advantage Sports Training in Marquette.
“They’ve helped me throughout my entire process at Northern Michigan. They helped me get ready for the NFL,” Tucker said. “I feel like when I got to the NFL, I was ready to compete. I was in shape and they have me in the best shape and ready to go,” said Tucker.
Tucker admits that he had a hard time adjusting the pros, especially when he realized that playing time directly impacts your livelihood.
“This isn’t just for a scholarship anymore. It isn’t to go to school anymore. This is what guys do to feed their families so they take this very serious,” Tucker said.
And getting a chance to play for one of the top teams in the entire league makes Tucker’s experience even more fulfilling.
“Their franchise and their organization is first–class with everything. The fans are unbelievable. It’s just great to be a part of something with so much tradition and so much history,” said Tucker.
And as a wide receiver, Tucker got a chance to learn from the best in the game, All–Pro wideout Antonio Brown.
“Just being able to watch that guy’s determination and watch his diligence when it comes to his work. Just watch his work ethic and how many times he goes out and gives everything on every single rep. It would be easy for him to sit down and say, “You know what? I’ve done what I need to do. I’ve done some great things in the National Football League. Now I can chill.” That’s not him and that’s why he’s the greatest,” said Tucker.
Tucker is originally from Flint, Michigan, which is home to several current NFL players like Seattle’s Thomas Rawls and New Orleans’s Mark Ingram. And he’s hoping to try to continue to represent his hometown as much they do.
“I just want to make a name for myself also, and put my own mark on the NFL just like those guys have thus far. I’m proud of those boys and I want them to keep balling. But it’s time for me to do some special things also,” Tucker said.
Tucker will be hosting a special football camp for local 3rd to 8th graders on July 15th and 16th. For more information, head to the Advant Edge Facebook page.