Given his own story, Marcus Dupree understands how precious football opportunities can be. He went from can’t-miss prospect in high school and as a freshman at Oklahoma to out of the game in the matter of a few years.
His story was chronicled in The Best That Never Was, a documentary that was part of ESPN Film’s 30 for 30 series that debuted in November 2010.
Dupree was a highly recruited running back out of Philadelphia (Mississippi) High School, and then rushed for 1,144 yards as a freshman at Oklahoma. There were high hopes for the rest of his college career, but he left abruptly in the middle of his injury-plagued sophomore season and that began a downward spiral.
Dupree transferred to Southern Mississippi, but never took a snap. Instead, he embarked on a professional career that saw him make stops with the USFL’s New Orleans Breakers and NFL’s Los Angeles Rams without the success most expected.
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Now, Dupree is working as a public speaker and runs his own business outside of the New Orleans area. He spent this week in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as one of the coaches in Saturday’s College Gridiron Showcase at Maverick Stadium on the UT Arlington campus.
Dupree, 50, is coaching the Desperados squad, while former Dallas Cowboys tight end Doug Cosbie is coaching the Wranglers.
How’d you get this coaching opportunity? A friend of mine, Rick Roberts, talked with someone and they wanted a running backs coach for this event. I said I’d do it and then the next thing I know is that I’m the head coach. So we made sure we put together a good coaching staff because I’ve never been a head coach before. We’ve got a good staff here, everyone is getting along and working well with the kids. It’s gone real well so far.
Is coaching something you’d like to get into? Yeah, I’m enjoying it. The kids have been great. They’ve all seen my 30 for 30, so we get a chance to talk with them and let them know that this is an opportunity for them. They get a chance to shine in front of scouts. They didn’t go to the Senior Bowl or anything like that, so this is a big opportunity for them. They can’t waste it.
What did the 30 for 30 film do for you? It gave a lot of people a better understanding of what went on at Oklahoma. It was mainly about the Oklahoma thing, so people know that I didn’t walk away.
Do you have a good relationship with the University of Oklahoma now? Yes, I go up there at least one or twice a month. I’ve got a ton of friends up there who I visit or they’ll come down to my place in Louisiana. I actually had a bunch of people come down here this week.
Has any player caught your eyes this week? They’re all working hard. I don’t want to say who’s who right now, I’ll let the game show that. But they’re good kids, and we should have quite a few from here playing on Sundays.
Do you expect to make this an annual thing for you? I think it will. The coaches and I were just talking about how much fun we’ve had being around these kids, so we hope so.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760
College Gridiron Showcase
1:30 p.m., Saturday, Maverick Stadium, Arlington, 1307 West Mitchell Street.
Notable players: Tevin Mitchel (Arkansas/Mansfield Legacy), Darius White (Missouri/Fort Worth Dunbar), John Harris (Texas), Levi Norwood (Baylor), Cyril Lemon (North Texas), Antonio Johnson (North Texas), Floyd Raven (Texas A&M), Ricky Collins (Texas A&M-Commerce), Charles Tuaau (Texas A&M-Commerce) and Ashton Dorsey (Texas A&M-Commerce)