Over the weekend I watched an ESPN 30 in 30 film about former high school and college standout Marcus Dupree. It was a very enlightening film about not only his recruiting but his career and his life after his career.
In high school he was considered the best athlete in high school history. Everytime he touched the ball, magic happened, he had the speed to run outside and the strength the plow through five tacklers. He was the perfect running back. It was known that every Division IA and IAA college in the country courted him. Every coach of each of the schools went to visit him and every family member and friend was bought to convince him to go to different colleges.
It was down to Texas and Oklahoma, he orally committed to Texas in his visit, but then he went to Oklahoma and was given a tour by Billy Simms. On National Signing day he ended up signing with the Sooners. After an amazing frreshman season there, where he piled up 1144 yards and 13 touchdowns in just eight starts. Everyone was excited about a possible Heisman run, unfortunately it never panned out that way. His sophomore season he had only 369 yards and three touchdowns when he got a concussion during the Texas game. After the game he vanished for a week and ended up in Mississippi where he decided then and there he was transferring to Southern Mississippi. The NCAA informed him that he would have to sit out the 1984 season. After losing an appeal he left Southern Mississippi and looked to play professionally.
At the time the NFL was only taking 4th year players and since waiting another year wasn’t an option, Dupree met with USFL officials. The USFL had just signed Hershel Walker a junior at the time, and decided to allow the New Orleans Breakers to sign him. On his first touch of his pro career, he scored a touchdown. Unfortunately he suffered from quite a few injuries which hampered his season and he only rushed for 684 yards and 9 touchdowns. His second season was a disaster, after a terrible knee injury, his career was over.
Walter Payton met Marcus Dupree on some business venture and told him to get in shape for a comeback. He did just that, in fact he got his 40 yard time down to 4.5 seconds. He ended up playing for the Rams in 1990 and 1991 but was cut in 1992. He finished his NFL career with 251 yards and one touchdown.
He had several football cards as pictured below. None of them are over a dollar and most are around 25 cents. Considering his career it’s completely understandable, but when you realize that he might have just been the greatest player who never played, it makes his cards all that more intriguing.