Today I feel froggy, and am going to write about former college and pro football player turned wrestler, Marcus Dupree, "The Best That Never Was" .
Marcus Dupree was all world in high school football, went to OU and than vanished from college football. His journey then took him to the USFL, NFL and then to professional wrestling.
Dupree was born on May 22, 1964 in Philadelphia, Mississippi. He played football for the Philadelphia High School Tornadoes. He started as a wide receiver and kickoff/punt returns. He was fast, running the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds. In his freshmen year he had 12 touchdowns. Marcus then became a running back in his sophomore season. He scored 28 touchdowns and rushed for 1,850 yards in his first season as a running back. For his junior season Marcus rushed for 2,550 and scored 34 touchdowns, 9 of them from kickoff returns. His senior season seen him rush for 2,955 yards and scored 36 touchdowns. He finished his high school career with 7,355 rushing yards and averaged 8.3 yards per carry. With 87 career touchdowns, Dupree set a high school touchdown record.
Marcus was recruited by all the major college football programs. He finally selected the Oklahoma Sooners. In his freshmen season he rushed for 1,144 yards and had 13 touchdowns. Dupree’s sophomore season, 1984, would be considered the weirdest ever for a player. In the first four games of the season, Marcus only rushed for 369 yards and three touchdowns. He suffered a concussion in a game against Texas. After the game he vanished for a week. He showed up in Mississippi to announce he was leaving Oklahoma University to transfer to the University of Southern Mississippi. The NCAA informed Marcus Dupree he would have to sit out the 1984 season. Instead of sitting out he left college.
Dupree signed with the New Orleans Breakers of the United States Football League right after leaving college football behind. In his first pro game, on his first attempt he scored a touchdown. He didn’t play much due to injuries, but managed to score 9 touchdowns on 145 carries and 684 yards. His second season, the team moved to Portland, Oregon. In the season opener Marcus injured his knee badly. He had to be carried off the field on a stretcher.
After sitting out for 5 years, Marcus, at the urging of Walter Payton, tried his hands in the NFL. In 1990, he signed with the Los Angeles Rams, who had drafted him in 1986 in case he decided to play in the NFL. It was in week 9 of the season that Dupree played. He rushed for 22 years. Dupree’s first NFL season ended with 72 yards on 19 carries in 3 games.
In 1991, Marcus missed the first seven games due an injury suffered in practice. He returned in week 8. For the season his stats were 179 yards on 49 carries and one touchdown.
In 1992 Dupree was released from the Rams with a career record of 251 yards on 68 carries with 1 touchdown.
For a person who had the whole world in his grasp at the start of his college career, his professional career ended in a thud.
In 1995, Marcus Dupree performed as a wrestler for the USWA. He was a tag team partner of David Rich for eight weeks. No matches can be found. Although he is listed as an alumni of the promotion I have not been able to uncover anything significant about his time in the promotion. It is rumored that he was trained by Tom Pritchard. In research the talent trained by Pritchard, Dupree’s name never showed up. Marcus Dupree has mentioned that “he worked some cards in the early 1990s with Jerry Lawler in Memphis.”
Dupree has blown his millions of dollars. From 1996 until 2010, Marcus had various jobs. He's been a nightclub owner, a casino greeter, a small-time entrepreneur and a truck driver and working for BP, helping clean up the Gulf oil spill. But in 2011, Dupree returned to wrestling. He is running a pro wrestling promotion, New Mid-South Wrestling, with his company Dupree & McAfee Entertainment. The company wants to go back to the “territory” days of wrestling, in the east Mississippi area, when one promotion worked a certain area and that was it. Originally, one of the promotions in the east Mississippi area was Mid-South Wrestling which was owned by Cowboy Bill Watts, Gulf Coast Wrestling which was owned by Lee Fields, and, for a short while, Deep South Wrestling. Now it looks as if Marcus Dupree is trying his hands in regional wrestling. New Mid-South Wrestling will give the fans a chance to see their favorites who are no longer on national television.
His first promotion was held in Philadelphia, Mississippi and was called “Redemption“. Dupree teamed up with David Rich to take on Tommy “Wildfire” Rich and Doug Gilbert for the tag team titles.
Other wrestlers who participated were Koko B. Ware, Brian “Too Sexay” Christopher (Jerry Lawler’s son), Road Dog Jesse James Flash Flannigan, Kamala and the Krypt Keeper.
"Marcus is trying to get New Mid-South Wrestling going, and so far, I think he's been pretty smart about it," Rich said. "Marcus is already making plans for another card. A lot of guys are still around, wrestling in smaller promotions."
He hopes to get a circuit going in rural towns where there isn't a whole lot else to do on a Saturday night.
800 people showed up for the New Mid-South Wrestling’s first promotion. Dupree and Rich did win the tag team belts.
Info from: Wipkedia and various wrestling wrestling sites.