Marcus Everett: Ready To Lead

Sept. 18, 2008

By Mike Leary
UCLA Sports Information Assistant

Since stepping on the UCLA campus in 2004, Marcus Everett has experienced his share of ups and downs in the UCLA football program. From the high of beating USC in 2006, to his season-ending ankle injury in 2007 and subsequent coaching changes, Everett has been through a lot in his Bruin years. But through it all, he has remained positive and has emerged as one of the senior leaders for this Bruin squad.

Growing up 20 minutes from the UCLA campus in the San Fernando Valley, Everett always knew he wanted to be a Bruin. So naturally UCLA was the choice of this three-sport athlete in track, basketball and football at nearby Chaminade High School.

'I grew up watching the tradition that UCLA football has,' said Everett. 'It is a great area, a great school, a great football program, and everything is top of the line, so why wouldn't I want to be a part of that?'

After making key contributions on the field during his freshman year at UCLA, Everett was primed to become a regular starter until a sprained shoulder sidelined himfor the first two games of the 2005 season. Despite the injury, he stayed positive and persevered to help lead the Bruins to fourthquarter comebacks against Washington, California, Washington State and Stanford, grabbing a combined 10 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown in those fourth quarter victories. Those comebacks helped the Bruins to a 10-2 record, including a win over Northwestern in the Sun Bowl where Everett scored a key touchdown to put the Bruins ahead before halftime.

The Bruins had been inconsistent in 2006 as they headed into their annual season ending showdown with USC with a record of 6-5. Despite a disappointing season to that point, UCLA found a way to upset USC 13-9 and prevent the Trojans from going to the BCS National Championship game. Everett stepped up in that game as he had in the past, leading the team in receiving with five catches for 72 yards including three key third down receptions to keep drives alive. Everett still cherishes that day.

'That game is definitely my best memory here at UCLA,' he recalled. 'Every year that game is big and meaningful to us, and we're a part of history now. We're all legends on the campus because we beat USC.'

Last season, Everett faced one of the lowest points in his career when he suffered an ankle injury against Utah that ended his senior season.

'Hurting my ankle last year was the first time I've been hurt,' Everett said. 'It was rough. It was hard. I had to stay positive because I think that everything happens for a reason.'

The silver lining was that he received clearance from the NCAA for another season of competition.

'This year I'm going to make up for last year and try to go out with a bang,' he stated. 'I'm going to do whatever it takes to help my team win and help my team have a good season.'

Even though most experts have picked the Bruins to finish in the middle of the Pac-10, Everett still believes that the Bruins have the potential to surprise people and be in contention for the conference title.

'We know that we're capable of anything,' he predicted. 'We have the potential to win 12 games.'

By persevering through the struggles he faced during his tenure at UCLA, Everett has become a leader and an example for the other players to follow.

'When you hit adversity and hit hard times, you have to be positive and keep fighting through it,' said. 'It's not easy, but you wouldn't want anything if it wasn't easy.'

With a new coaching staff and a group full of young players, this season certainly won't be easy, but Marcus Everett wouldn't have it any other way.

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