Player Spotlight – Marquez Cooper
If you follow High School football you’ve most likely heard about the star running back Marquez Cooper out of Quince Orchard. Cooper has been dominating the competition and is being talked about all over, just read this and this to see what we’re talking about.
There’s a lot to talk about with Cooper’s game but there’s a part of Cooper that isn’t being talked about but should be in the conversation.
Cooper has been evolving as a leader just as much as a player. Cooper is entering into the conversation of being what we call at Lead ‘Em Up, a “special player” – a player who is both talented and a leader.
Cooper went through and successfully completed the Lead ‘Em Up Training Camp program this past May (a 4-week elite leadership camp for select athletes around the state hosted by Lead ‘Em Up – to learn more about our special training camps you can email here
We recently talked with Cooper, his Mom and his coach about the changes he’s been going through as a leader.
LEU – What/who has helped you develop the leadership mindset you have today? List as many things as you’d like.
MC – A lot of people but specifically I’d say: Doc Bonner, Dominique Chase (my uncle who passed away) and the Lead ‘Em Up program.
Doc had a great influence on me becoming a better leader because last year as a sophomore he took me under his wing. He helped me through every big game, learning all the plays and things of that sort because he had a lot of experience. I looked up to him doing amazing things and it made me want to strive harder and it gave me an example of how I need to be.
My uncle had a big influence as well because when he was here he built my heart on the field and my toughness. He never went easy on me just because I was young. He was hard on me and kept me accountable no matter what. I try to do the same with my teammates now.
The Lead ‘Em Up program helped me by giving me more value as a player by not just contributing to my team in talent, but with leadership as well. It also helped me learn how to get more involved with my teammates so that I can create more value in our relationships to better the chemistry within the team.
LEU – How do you think improving as a leader has helped you be a better athlete/player?
MC – Improving as a leader helped me become a better athlete because it has made me more valuable as a player and a teammate. It also makes me work harder because I know I have people counting me and looking up to me so I play harder. I’ve had to raise my own standards.
LEU – How do you think improving as a leader has helped your team?
MC – Me improving as a leader has helped my team because on the offensive side me and my o-lineman have a very close connection, closer than ever before. One thing I’ve started doing is buying them snacks after they block hard for me, (Cooper was inspired after going through the S.T.O.R.Y. exercise in the Lead ‘Em Up program, you can find the exercise here., to begin buying his lineman their favorite snacks after every game he’s rushes for 200 yards.) that has built value in our relationship so we don’t want to let each other down.
LEU – Was there an actual moment where you felt like your mind-shifted and you decided to take leadership more serious?
MC – I knew I had to take my leadership to another level when I realized to win states and to have success this season I’ll need to pick my game up because people count on me and respond based on my efforts.
LEU – What are 1-2 things you’ve seen Cooper improve upon this year compared to years past, as a leader? Where has he grown and what has he begun to do different or at higher level?
Mom – The biggest thing I’ve seen him improve on is taking accountability for his actions. Marquez use to really struggle in this department, he would always blame anyone but himself, but now not only have I seen him make better decisions when he does mess up he immediately takes responsibility and fixes the problem. He takes so much more ownership of his actions than ever before.
He’s also done such a better job acknowledging (celebrating) his teammates, realizing that he cannot do it alone. Showing his appreciation to the team. The fact that he saves his money to buy his o-line snacks blows me away. He use to want to spend all of his money on himself, not any more.
Coach John Kelly (Varsity Football Coach – Quince Orchard High School)
LEU – What is the biggest difference you’ve seen in Cooper’s leadership.
JK – He’s seeing the bigger picture. It’s not just about him. It’s about all those around him.
Do you have a player worthy of being spotlighted?
We’d love to feature them in our player spotlight series titled, The Corner, featuring those players that have turned the “corner” and have begun embracing leadership like never before.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a candidate.