Lott Trophy Watch: Marcus Hamilton
Oct. 16, 2006
Profile on Virginia’s Marcus Hamilton from The IMPACT Profiles in Character, a book producd by The Lott Trophy
The smoothest cornerback in the ACC has navigated a rocky road to his position as an elite player and a candidate for the 3rd annual Lott Trophy.
Marcus Hamilton, a 5-11, 190-pound package of energy and enthusiasm, is a fifth-year senior who has elevated his game each season at Virginia.
He’s done it by hard work and a strong faith in God.
“God has given me this gift and it’s not smart to waste what he has given you, so I just go out there and work hard everyday and improve,” Hamilton told Jay Jenkins of the Daily Progress.
Hamilton’s football resume is the ol’ two steps forward, one step back.
In his first collegiate game against Florida State in 2002, he returned two punts, saw some action on defense and was injured on a kick return team, forcing him to redshirt as a freshman. “I was a difficult year, but it was a learning experience,” Hamilton said. “I looked at it as the Lord’s plan. I wasn’t supposed to play.”
Healthy in 2003, he was the Cavalier’s third cornerback for much of the season, but saw his playing time diminish as the year wound down. “I started to lose my confidence, it was pretty much gone,” he recalled.
In the spring of 2004, he earned the Cavaliers’ Rock Weir award as the most improved player on the team. He began the campaign as a starting cornerback but then lost his job to a true freshman. In a crucial game against Georgia Tech, Hamilton came off the bench and intercepted two passes to help seal a 30-10 Virginia win on the road. Hamilton was named national defensive player of the week.
“The way he went about preparing himself for that game was very impressive,” said Virginia Coach Al Groh. “He charted what the player did by alignment, by formation, how he ran his routes. He was just very professional in how he went about it.”
“That’s how you prepare each week going in there and if you do, good things will happen,” Hamilton said. “
Comfortable and confident at last, Hamilton started all Virginia’s games last season, led the ACC with five interceptions and was second in the conference among corners with 5.5 tackles per game. He was a second-team All-ACC selection.
“Marcus really matured as a player,” said Groh. “His intensity on a day-to-day basis and his concentration on the job.”
Through his hills and valleys on the football field, two things remained constant in Hamilton’s life – his studies and his faith.
He graduated with a degree in sociology in seven semesters and will play this year as a grad student. He’s been on the ACC All-Academic team and the recipient of the Mark and Anne Sternheimer Endowed Football Scholarship from the Virginia Athletics Foundation.
Hamilton credits God with his success. “I know it couldn’t have happened without the help of God,” he said. “Without him working through me, it couldn’t have happened.”
Now he’s ready for his senior season as the leader of a young Cavalier defense. “He knows the defense and he knows what we’re like,” said defensive coordinator Mike London of Hamilton, who was voted a team captain this past spring. “But he also brings an NFL edge to it and his enthusiasm is incredible. He has so much energy out there. That’s what’s fun, having him running around, jumping and laughing with us.” Finally.
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