Marcus Jones may be the busiest man in Penn Athletics.
The sophomore from Newport, Pa., can lay claim to being part of three of the program’s teams. After playing for the junior varsity basketball team and managing the varsity basketball team throughout his freshman year in 2014-15, Jones has maintained his commitments to both teams and joined sprint football this fall as well.
The underclassman has played both sports since fourth grade, lettering three times in basketball and twice in football in high school. Having heard of his prowess, Penn sprint football coach Bill Wagner got in touch with Jones during his senior year of high school and asked if he wanted to grace the gridiron for the Red and Blue. However, Jones ultimately decided to devote his time to basketball.
But Wagner didn’t give up.
“[Wagner] gave me a call and asked if I wanted to try on the pads again at the end of basketball season last year,” Jones said. “I was kind of reminiscing about high school at the time, so I was really excited when he gave me the call.
“I was more than happy to accept.”
Jones has been an integral part of the Quakers’ defense this fall, playing in all four of the team’s games and totaling 22 tackles while serving as a defensive end. Although he went through a bit of an adjustment period earlier this season after a year off from the game, Jones has managed to reacclimate.
“I was kind of anxious and kind of waiting for that first hit,” he admitted. “But once we got back into the swing of things, it meshed and felt normal again.”
In addition, Jones had to adapt to the increased skill level of his opponents compared to those he had faced in high school.
“The game did speed up from high school,” Jones said. “I could definitely tell. I was a little caught off guard during the first game with the way the speed was.
“But I’m picking it up really well.”
With the start of basketball season just a month away, Jones is beginning to think about hoops. He anticipates there will be times when sprint football games or practices and JV basketball practices overlap, but it is understood that sprint football takes priority while he is still on the roster for that team during the season.
Still, it’s a delicate balancing act.
“It’s going to be a little bit of a jumble,” he noted.
Once the sprint football season comes to a close, Jones will also resume his duties as a manager for coach Steve Donahue’s basketball program. His responsibilities with the Quakers include helping with equipment, filling water bottles, filming practices and making sure everything runs smoothly on game day.
Although playing for the JV team while managing the varsity group can be quite time-consuming, Jones views the opportunity to do both as invaluable experience.
“I think of myself as a student of the game, even though I’m not on the varsity team,” Jones said. “I like to watch, like to learn and like to pick up new things and play better in JV games.
“The coaches could see that as I was paying attention at the varsity practices, I was translating [what I learned] to the JV practices. I think it translates well.”
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.