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I ask him is he ready to start the interview and he answers back “I’ve been waiting for this sir.” Excited to to tell his story, he’s attentive and eager to take advantage of the opportunity to give insight on who and what player he is.
Marquell Beckwith is a 5’10” 196 pound senior running back for Alabama State Athletics. Raised in Montgomery, Alabama, Beckwith fell in love with football at a very young age. “I was always around the game every since I was six years old. My stepfather was a big Dallas Cowboys fan and my older brother played football. When you’re little, you always want to do what your big brother does,” says Beckwith. Athleticism and the football pedigree runs through his family blood. His uncle Charles Johnson played for the Green Bay Packers in the 80’s and his cousin Robert Johnson played for the Washington Redskins.
Because of his style, most players take him for just a scat back but Beckwith uses that to his advantage. His combination of speed and quickness provides leverage for his power. “My best attributes are blocking, speed and using my hands, I can catch out the backfield. My experience playing wide receiver in high school helped me out,” says Beckwith. “But I really believe that my football IQ is my best attribute. I feel I have a high football IQ.” He’s able to change speeds and still have the ability to be shifty while doing so. His vision allows him to make the necessary cut-back to find small creases to squeeze through.
He’s often compared to LeSean McCoy when it comes to his running style. “When I first got to Alabama State, I wasn’t there for a full two days and the defensive coach said that I definitely reminded them of Shady McCoy.” Beckwith is known for making people miss and looking silly while missing. He loves the comparison to McCoy but it’s another running back he loves watching. “Le’Veon [Bell], I love to watch Le’Veon, he’s my favorite back in the NFL.”
Not only did Beckwith fall in love with the game but he knew at a young age that football was a way out of an environment that could lead him to the wrong path. “Growing up in Montgomery with the negative environment surrounding me, I wanted to do something positive. So I committed myself into doing that.” Beckwith used his surroundings for motivation. Seeing friends and family going down the wrong direction, he made sure he maintained a A and B average throughout high school. “Seeing my mom cry because of of other family problems inspired me to focus more and I never wanted her to cry again,” remembers Beckwith.
Before college, Beckwith was a father but he knows that what others looked at as setbacks, he looked at the situation as a blessing and an extra push to follow his dream and create a legacy for his family. “La’dell (six years-old) and La’trell (four years-old) are my inspirations. Knowing I have to be a role model and they’re looking up to me, it was no question that I would continue my journey playing football. I had no excuse to stop chasing my dream.”
La’dell, his biggest fan is also his biggest critic. “After a game, he would come up to me and say da-da, why you didn’t run there or why did you let him tackle you.” Beckwith knows his every move is being watched by his two sons, now he makes every move count and is providing an example of what a man does to fight through adversity.
It seemed as if adversity has alway followed Beckwith throughout his career. During his junior year at Troy University, he experienced something that he had never been through before. “The first day of fall practice and we weren’t even in pads, I tore my ACL,” says Beckwith. In his career, he had never sustained an injury to that magnitude.
“That was the first time since I was six years old where I wasn’t playing football and it was tough.” Yet still, it made him appreciate the game more and to never take football for granted. After battling back, Beckwith decided to transfer to Alabama State University. After competing for the starting job and actually getting the start in the second game of the season, the senior running back suffered a high ankle sprain that kept him out of four games. “While I was out, the running back got hot and ended up staying the starter throughout the season.”
“It humbled me, I now look at football in a different light.” Beckwith battled back and displayed his skill-set and not only earned an invitation to the FCS Bowl but he was also invited to the Tropical Bowl. At the Tropical Bowl, Beckwith talked to several NFL Teams.
His running style mirrors his journey, elusive and being able to maneuver out of danger and trouble. Beckwith trials has made him what he is today, loyal, tough and strong willed. He understands that his past will make his journey to the next level a smooth transition knowing that the groundwork has been laid out. “My goal is to prove everybody who believed in me right and prove everybody who doubted me wrong.”