Troup senior hoping for big season
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s his final go-around as a Troup High football player, and Marquavious Kelley is ready to make the most of the opportunity.
Kelley was a key player as a junior and was among the team’s leading receivers, and his role figures to expand greatly in his second season as a starter.
“I’m a leader on the team and I’m stepping into a big role,” Kelley said. “I’ll do my part and help make sure that we come out successful.”
Tanner Glisson, who is heading into his sixth season as Troup’s head coach, has high expectations for Kelley.
“He did have some good moments (as a junior), but I think he’ll benefit from having a year of seasoning, and figuring out where he belongs, whether it be at quarterback, whether it be at receiver,” Glisson said. “We do know that 100 percent he’ll play some defensive back.”
Although Kelley didn’t become a regular varsity player until his junior season, Glisson has been impressed with his ability and work ethic since he arrived at Troup High as a freshman in 2017.
When Kelley was a sophomore, he made a critical contribution to a team that went 12-2 and reached the semifinals of the state playoffs.
“As a 10th-grader, he was our (junior-varsity) MVP, so we knew about him,” Glisson said. “I remember him as a 10th-grader running scout-team quarterback, and he had the leadership qualities, and the hard work.”
Following the departure of some gifted receivers, Kelley’s time to shine arrived last season, and he had nearly 20 receptions with four touchdowns, including one in a state-playoff game against Blessed Trinity.
Against Sandy Creek, Kelley had two catches for 106 yards with a 75-yard touchdown.
Kelley and fellow senior Zy Varner are Troup’s leading returning receivers.
“Last year, he came in and we played him in different spots, and we probably did him
a little bit of an injustice as far as not getting him comfortable in a spot,” Glisson said. “But this year, we expect some great things from him.”
Whether he’s at quarterback, receiver, or defensive back, Kelley believes he can make a contribution.
“I’m really a do-it-all kind of guy,” Kelley said. “Wherever you put me, I’m going to get it done.”
Glisson appreciates the leadership Kelley has shown in all areas.
“He’s a leader in the weight room, he’s a leader on the field,” Glisson said. “I’ve known his dad forever, even when I coached back at Greenville. His dad was a part of the program there. So it’s been great coaching him. We feel good about him.”
Kelley and his teammates are going through their second week of summer conditioning in what has been an unusual offseason.
All the plans that were in place were scrapped in the middle of March when everything was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The shutdown came with Troup in the midst of its offseason strength and conditioning program and with spring practice on the horizon.
Teams were allowed to begin summer conditioning last week, nearly three months after the shutdown began.
Kelley did his best to make sure he’d be ready to go when it came to rejoin his teammates.
“I was just staying healthy, drinking protein, eating right, sleeping right,” Kelley said. “It’s just the small things. If you do the small things, the big things will come.”