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Walking Away From Greatness

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One of the sad things in life is unfulfilled potential. Unfortunately, we are all guilty of that to some extent as none of us really ever achieves all that we are capable of. Some people go a lot farther than others, however, in making the most of their gifts and talents while others appear to throw away their opportunities for excellence.
Several stories have surfaced lately of a young man who possessed capabilities on the football field that threatened to surpass even the all time greats. Marcus Dupree was the number one draft pick in 1981 after he shattered records at his Philadelphia, Mississippi High School with statistics of 7,355 rushing yards and 87 touchdowns during his school tenure. He even broke the record of football great, Herschel Walker by one touchdown. The recruiting efforts for this young man were nothing short of amazing with 100 calls coming in daily from colleges around the country. Marcus Dupree ended up signing with the Oklahoma Sooners and Coach Barry Switzer.
When 19 year old Marcus stepped foot on the gridiron of the University of Oklahoma he may have been the youngest there to wear the prestigious Sooner football jersey but he was also the best on that field eclipsing every other player regardless of their age and experience. His arsenal of skills was without parallel, including phenomenal speed, great focus and inordinate strength and power. These attributes lead him to the starting tailback position for his team even though he was only a freshman.
It appeared that the stars were aligned for this young man and that he was embarking on a brilliant journey to greatness in the sport of football. That, however, did not happen in the way that many thought that it would. What did happen was that for some reason (perhaps one that Marcus Dupree himself does not even understand) this immensely talented young man seemed to lose interest. His coach accused him of being overweight and out of shape and said that he failed to give the necessary intensity in his training sessions.
During his sophomore year at OU, Dupree went missing. He had decided that the game he had so loved wasn’t fun anymore, at least it wasn’t fun at OU and with Coach Switzer so he simply left and went back home to Mississippi. Over the next ten years, Dupree made attempts to regain his proficiency on the field by playing for three different teams but with only minimal success and unfortunately with mounting injuries. The young man who might well have gone down in the record books as one of the greatest football players of all time faded entirely from the football scene, leaving behind a staggering amount of unrealized potential.