Today’s post celebrates the “Happy Birthday” of a Wolverine named Marquise Walker. According to the Wikipedia article linked below, Marquise Walker was born on this date in Syracuse, New York. Marquise grew up to be an outstanding athlete at Henninger High School in Syracuse. He finished his career as a record-setting receiver and earned high school All-American honors in 1997. In fact, he was the Gatorade High School Football Player of the year in New York in his Senior year.
Walker came close to attending college at Syracuse, but decided to accept a scholarship offer from Lloyd Carr and The University of Michigan. Marquise had a slow start in his freshman year. However, he did catch 4 passes for 31 yards and earned his first varsity letter. The Wolverines posted an overall record of 10 wins and 3 losses in 1998 and won a share of the Big Ten Championship.
Marquise returned for his Sophomore year in 1999. He was ready for a bigger role and that’s exactly what happened. Although he didn’t start any games, Walker caught 37 passes in 12 games. He averaged 10.7 yard per reception and scored 2 touchdowns. He earned his second varsity letter and played on a team that finished with 10 wins and 2 losses. The Wolverines posted a record of 6-2 in conference play which was only good enough for a second place tie.
Walker was back for his third season in 2000. Once again, he increased his productivity and carved out a larger role in the Michigan offense. Marquise set a career high with 49 receptions for 699 yards and 4 touchdowns. Of course, he earned his third varsity letter and helped Michigan earn another share of the Big Ten Title. The Wolverines posted an overall record of 9 wins and 3 losses and finished at 6-2 in the conference.
Marquise Walker had high expectations for his senior season in 2001. Fortunately, he exceeded them. Marquise had a record-setting season on the field, but the Wolverines slipped to a final record of 8 wins and 4 losses. Michigan ended the Big Ten season with a record of 6 wins and 2 losses which earned them a second-place finish.
Once again, Marquise played extremely well and earned Michigan’s MVP Award for his excellent season. He caught almost everything that John Navarre threw at him in 2001. In fact, he caught so many balls that he set a new Michigan record for receptions in a single season at 86!
Here are some other “firsts” and records that Marquise set during his final season at Michigan.
· Marquise Walker became the first receiver in Michigan Football History to catch 15 passes in one game (15 for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns) in a loss at Washington in September 2001.
· Walker also became the first, and only, man to catch 15 passes twice in the same season when he grabbed that many against the Buckeyes in the last regular season game of 2001.
· Marquise Walker also became the first Michigan receiver to gain 1,143 pass receiving yards in 2001.
· Walker also became the first receiver to record six one-hundred yard receiving games in one season in 2001.
· Finally, in 2001, Marquise Walker became the first receiver to record 176 career receptions which broke Anthony Carter’s twenty-year old record.
So, Marquise Walker left Michigan as an All-American with 19 starts, 4 varsity letters, 2 Big Ten Championship rings, a team MVP Award, and first team All-Conference recognition from the Big Ten. Yes, he had an excellent career and left Ann Arbor with his head held very high! Walker went on to a short NFL career with a number of teams. Today is certainly a great day to appreciate his contributions to the great history that is – Michigan Football. Happy Birthday Marquise and Go Blue!