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September 29, 2006Playing sports is in Marcel Reece's blood. Baseball, basketball, track. You name it, he played it. He played everything, except for football.
"I always wanted to play and me and my brothers would always mess around in the street," he said. "But my mom was always afraid that we'd get hurt."
When Reece's family moved from Los Angeles to Hesperia, Calif. in between his sophomore and junior years in high school, he got his opportunity to hit the gridiron. As part of the agreement for the move, his mom allowed him and his brothers to finally play football.
Although he says basketball was always his first love, Reece quickly developed into a force to be reckoned with on the football field.
"It came naturally to me," he said. "High school is all about athletic ability and not much is technique."
During his senior season, he was an all-around standout athlete. He was honored as an all-state selection in basketball and track to go along with football, and the sport he wanted to play at the next level was still a mystery to him.
He was offered scholarships for both basketball and football out of high school, but he couldn't decide which one to play in college. So, he decided to go to junior college to figure it out.
"At the time I didn't think it was a really good decision by myself, but it worked out pretty well," he said. "I made the decision because I really didn't know whether I wanted to play basketball or if I wanted to play football."
It didn't take long for the final verdict to come down for him.
"My first summer I played both, but during the summer workouts for football I just kept getting bigger, bigger, bigger gaining all the muscle but I wasn't gaining any height," he said. "It was all football and basketball was just a hobby for me."
Overall, he enjoyed the junior college experience, and it helped him transition from high school into playing at Washington.
"It was really fun, just going out there and do what I do best, just having fun," he said. "Junior college is not as easy as most people make it seem or think it is, it takes hard work still. I think you really need to keep your focus in junior college because it's not the upper level and it's not the lower level, it's the middle ground."
After he finished his sophomore year at El Camino Community College with the school's single season receiving record - with 1268 yards- he was being recruited once again, and after only one visit he chose to become a Husky.
"This was my first trip, and after I got here everything was great," he said. "But as I was leaving, I knew that this was the place for me."
And since arriving on campus, he has fit in easily with his teammates, including creating a fast bond with quarterback Isaiah Stanback.
"He is somebody I probably have the tightest relationship with," Stanback said. "He's really starting to shine now, and it's a big adjustment to come from JC."
The adjustment from junior college to Division I football has been a transition that UW wide receivers coach Eric Yarber thinks he has made pretty well so far.
"When you get junior college players, it takes them five or six games to really contribute, but he works after practice as hard as anyone else to improve his skills and make his transition a little easier," Yarber said. "He's making the transition faster than I thought he would."
As the Huskies have started 3-1, Reece hopes that trend of winning continues, because he said that the toughest moments of his football career were playing on losing teams in high school.
"I hate to lose, it hurts me so much," he said. "No matter how good I played or no matter how many records I set."
The receiver who has only been playing football for four years continues to improve and hopes to leave the UW as a winner.