South Carolina Gamecock Marty Markett: From Walk-on to the NFL

Alex RobertsCorrespondent IApril 30, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 31:  Rodney Smith #84 of the Florida State Seminoles breaks a tackle by Marty Markett #39 of the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl at Georgia Dome on December 31, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

In August of 2009, Marty Markett, a track star, decided to walk on to the University of South Carolina football team.

On April 28th, 2012, Marty Markett signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons

This untold and unheralded story deserves to be written about.  Coming into college out of York County in South Carolina, Markett was a dedicated track star.  He was on a scholarship for the track program, and he was extremely talented.  He was an All-American in the 4x100 relay.

However, something was missing for him.  In August of 2009, the 5'10", 165-pound Markett decided to walk on to the football team. 

The coaches were immediately enamored by his speed and intelligence.  He was a fluid defensive back for someone who hadn't played in a while.  His athleticism earned him a spot on the roster.  However, he broke his arm and had to miss the entire 2009 campaign.

In 2010, he saw playing time as a special teams player.  His special teams play not only earned him a game ball against Tennessee, but also earned him a spot in the defensive back rotation.

Then, on November 13th, 2010, Markett made his first career start in one of South Carolina's most important games of all time.

Yes, Marty Markett was a starter for the game that won South Carolina their very first SEC East division crown. 

Markett was now a mainstay in the rotation, and he played a major role in South Carolina's excellent 2011 season.  He had 26 tackles and a pass breakup.  He was excellent in coverage and used his speed to cover some great receivers in the SEC. 

Now, after showing off his amazing athleticism for NFL scouts, he's earned a chance to play for the Atlanta Falcons. 

Most people would be quick to write him off.  He wasn't a feature in the defensive backfield until 2011.  There is no way he can make an NFL team. 

I am not one of them.  This man was one of the hardest working and hungriest players to ever grace the football field.  He may be small and come from a humble background, but his heart is as strong as any player to every play for the Gamecocks. 

He will be missed.  Gamecock Nation will be rooting for you, Mr. Markett.