From Sunshine to Show-Me: Defensive back’s journey from California to Missouri

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Western did not choose him, he chose Western.

Marcus Thompson is one of four players on the football roster from the Sunshine State, California. But what makes his story is special is how he came about coming to play here.

The defensive back/corner hails from Pasadena, Calif., where he played for John Muir High School.  He was a decorated player during his years there. Thompson won the defensive back award in 2007 and 2008. To go along with the ’08 award, he also received the coaches’ award and was named to the B2G All-Sparta second team that same year. Thompson was also named MVP of the Fiesta Bowl All-Star game. He was an Honorable Mention for the San Gabriel Valley.

In 2009, Thompson headed to Arkansas Pinebluff. He redshirted his first season.

The following season, in 2010, he headed to Missouri Western. But what’s interesting is that he was the one who recruited Western.

“It’s a great place to come,” Thompson said. “Everybody is nice, you can easily make friends here, it’s basically like my family away from home.”

Fellow California native, wide receiver Tyron Crockom, was a good friend of Thompson and was playing for Western. So, Thompson called Tyler Fenwick, former offensive coordinator for Western, and won him over. He also quickly gained the trust of the defensive coordinator, Regi Trotter.

“He’s a very good player. A tough, hard-nosed player,” Trotter said. “He’s a good tackler and everything you want out of a corner.”

So, in 2010, Thompson became a walk-on for the Griffons. In his first season at Western, he played eight games. He had 12 tackles total, with eight being solo tackles. He claimed his career-high of three tackles against Fort Hays State. He would also record a pass break-up against the Tigers. To wrap up the season, he claimed one interception against Mesa State.

His redshirt-sophomore year would be short lived. Thompson only played in five games, before a leg injury would sideline him for the remainder of the season. But, in those five games, he would record four tackles, two against Pittsburg State and two against Washburn. He would also claim one tackle for loss and one pass break-up.

Last season, Thompson was able to make a name for himself. He opened the season with an interception against Central Missouri. Thompson would force a fumble the following week in the game against William Jewell. He played in all 14 games with the Griffons, with two starts. He totaled 22 tackles, with 18 being solo. Thompson also had four pass break-ups on the season.

“Winning the MIAA Conference Championship last year against Northwest up in Maryville,” Thompson said. “I see that as my biggest accomplishment, so far.”

This season, he has six starts in all six games played so far. Thompson claimed two interceptions against Nebraska-Kearney, returning one for five yards.

“We really trust him. He’s made a lot of big plays for us over the last couple years. He’s always been pretty solid,” head coach Jerry Partridge said. “He gained Coach Trotter’s trust first, and then he turned in my trust because Coach Trotter trusted him. We really believe in him.”

Thompson is a Criminal Justice major with the hopes of one day being a Juvenile Probation Officer.

“I plan on helping out, giving back to the community. Helping youth out; showing them the rights and wrongs in life,” Thompson said.

Look out for no.13 when the Griffons head to Joplin, Mo. when they play the Lions of Missouri Southern State. Game time is set for Saturday, Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.

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