Marcus Dupree – The best that never was

Last night the world was given a glimpse into the life of Marcus Dupree courtesy of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series. The channel has put together 30 documentaries made by various film makers which follow the lives of sports stars and athletes who have transformed and inspired the world of sport.

You could be forgiven for not knowing who Marcus Dupree is, one of the most highly recruited high school football players ever, he was fortunate that his school dropped segregation and his was one of the first classes to enjoy twelve years of mixed race education.

Dupree was so heavily recruited that a book called The Courting Of Marcus Dupree was written about him by Willie Morris. Following on from that, The Best That Never Was, directed by Jonathon Hock, tells the story of Marcus Dupree.

His footballing began in earnest back in 1978 when he played for the Philadelphia High School Tornadoes until 1981. He finished his high school football career having accumulated 5,284 rushing yards with an 8.3-yards-per-carry average which led him to be recruited by just about every major football program in the country.

He has been described as the perfect running back as he had the size, speed, acceleration, agility and strength to drive forward. Perfect attributes indeed but sadly his body was unable to cope with the rigorous demands he made of it and the injuries began to mount.

Dupree was picked up in 1990 by the LA Rams as an undrafted free agent and he played for them until the pre-season of 1993. It’s a sad story in truth of a man who could have had it all were it not for the injuries that blighted his playing days, but, he has always been talked about as the greatest player that never made it.

Read about other sports stars whose careers have been blighted by injury including Shalane Flanagan, Haile Gebrselassie, Lance Armstrong, Clayton Treska and Kenny McKinley.

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Images: bleacherreport.com, popmatters.com