Baylor football walk-on Marques Jones balances sports, academics

McKinney senior Marques Jones was a walk-on for the Baylor football team. During his four years in college, he has been able to balance athletics with school, maintaining a 3.94 GPA. Photo courtesy of Marques Jones.

Trisha Porzycki | Contributor

With graduation approaching in four short weeks, many seniors are looking back on their four years at Baylor. Many participated in clubs or intramural teams, passed classes with flying colors, and have a job lined up for after graduation. But some students have gone beyond the ordinary to make the best of their four years in college.

Marques Jones is a walk-on football player with a 3.94 GPA in the engineering program, has been offered a summer internship at Tesla, Inc, and gained a respected reputation on campus. As the icing on the cake, Jones scored the winning touchdown in the 2018 Texas Bowl Game versus Vanderbilt.

While attending McKinney High School, Jones was on the football and track team while earning impressive grades and scoring an ACT score of 35. When it came time to apply for college, Jones submitted applications to just two universities: Harvard and Baylor.

When final decisions at the end of the year arose and Jones decided he was going to be a Bear, he said his mother was very excited with his decision.

“She is happy I came to Baylor, especially for home games – she loves to be there to cheer me on,” Jones said.

Upon arriving at Baylor, Jones tried out for the football team. While he was not recruited during his high school football days, Jones worked hard to earn his spot on the team and his No. 84 jersey. After being redshirted his freshman year, he made an impression with his coaches and teammates which earned him his starting spot sophomore year. He said starting in his first game against Oklahoma State is his favorite football memory from his four years on the team.

Jones is viewed as loyal member of the team by No. 83 Katy wide receiver junior Russell Morrison. “Marques has always been a great teammate of mine,” Morrison said. “He is always there to help me with anything on and off the field. Not only is he a great athlete and teammate but he is also a great friend, and that’s what makes him the person he is.”

Oglesby junior Ryan McClinton said he met Jones in electronics lab and that he is one of the most reliable and trustworthy people he knows.

“He’s always there when I need him, no matter what it is or what time it is, I can trust him with anything,” McClinton said.

Jones credits his coaching staff and teammates for helping him become a better player and student.

“Coach Jackson has to be my favorite,” he said. “He is hard on us but, he is out there to make us better and has been a great mentor during my time at Baylor. Along with that, we have academic coaches in the athletic department that help and prepare us for class. They make sure that school comes first.”

College athletes can have challenges as they balance their schedules, but try being in one of the hardest programs at Baylor. During the season, his meetings and breakfast start at 6:30 a.m., followed by class from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. with lunch and practice for two-hours in the afternoon. Despite the busy schedule, Jones has managed to keep his high GPA and build positive relationships with his professors.

“My favorite has to be Professor Annette von Jouanne,” Jones said. “I took her Electrical and Hybrid Vehicles course. We did a lot of cool projects in that class which I enjoyed. The professors in the program teach the material and prepare us well.”

Jones dream job is to work at Tesla, Inc or Space X. Jones declined his Tesla internship because he wanted to finish his masters while playing football. Following this May, Jones will be completing his Master of Science and Electoral and Computer Engineering at Baylor.

Because he was redshirted his freshman year, Jones has one more year of NCAA eligibility, which allows him one more football season. He will be spending the summer at football camp, completing research with one of his professors and spending time with his new puppy, Panda.

Four years later, Jones has created an image that all students can look up to: Hardworking and dedicated.

“Looking back on my four years, I can’t thank Baylor enough for all of the experiences and the Athletic Department,” Jones said. “ I will forever be a Baylor Bear. Sic ‘Em.”