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Lineman excels in the classroom and on the field

Published: Thursday, October 14, 2010

Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 12:05


Bob Corral

Sophomore Greg Watkins (44) and freshman Marcus Bagley (99) walk off the field Oct. 9 at the Sun Bowl.

Growing up with six brothers and three sisters, competition just comes naturally to freshman defensive lineman Marcus Bagley.

Having an older brother who was also a high school football standout and is currently playing for Midwestern State and other siblings who excelled both in sports and in the classroom, has led him to overachieve in both areas.

The transition coming out of high school straight to a Football Bowl Subdivision without sitting out a season as a redshirt is something Bagley says he was always prepared for.

"Coach (Andre) Patterson had let me know when he recruited me that I might be able to get some playing time coming in," Bagley said. "My high school coaches prepared me, one of my coaches played for Buffalo (in the NFL) and he taught me a lot."

Bagley was selected First Team All District as a defensive lineman in both his junior and senior years at North Mesquite High School, racking up 96 tackles, five sacks and a forced fumble his senior year. In addition to his accolades on the field, Bagley said he graduated from high school with a 3.98 grade point average. Currently majoring in mechanical engineering, his goal is to graduat UTEP with a GPA of 3.5 or better.

"Marcus is a big, strong powerful young man, but the biggest characteristic that's helping him play as a freshman is he has a really good football knowledge," UTEP defensive coordinator Andre Patterson said. "He's a very smart young man and he fits in well with the guys."

While he is only seeing limited playing time, head coach Mike Price said the experience he is getting now, combined with his raw strength and talent will translate into a successful career at UTEP.

"He's an outstanding individual and very bright," Price said. "He's picking up everything quick and playing as a true freshman. He's just got a lot of potential, and he's a character."

Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, 320 pounds, Bagley is an imposing figure, who, according to his player bio benches 425 pounds and squats up to 550. However, when asked what advantage he has over his fellow freshman on the team, that aren't seeing playing time yet, he flashes a mischievous smile.

"With me being bright, it helps out a lot," Bagley said. "I think I pick up the plays a lot easier and learning the system has come a little bit easy for me."

UTEP currently has a very young defensive line, with only two seniors and three juniors. Out of eight freshman defensive linemen on the team, only two will redshirt this season, trading experience for an extra year of eligibility. However, Patterson is confident that rookie mistakes will pay dividends in UTEP's defensive future, and he expects Bagley to be a part of that.

"All of this hasn't been too big for him, a lot of times for a freshman this is too big…and the tempo is too fast, but it hasn't been that way for (Bagley)," Patterson said. "As long as he stays healthy and keeps doing the right things on and off the field, I think he has a chance to have a tremendous career here over the next four years."

David Acosta can be reached at

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