Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion’s amatuer football journey began and will most likely end in the Central Valley.
Throughout the way there was that detour to Oregon State.
McMaryion, a Dinuba native, still remembers not being offered a scholarship by Fresno State during his senior year at Dinuba High School.
“I think it’s crazy how God works. You didn’t think you were gonna play here at all, then come around your junior year and you have two years left to play in the Valley,” he said. “It’s a blessing for sure, that’s the only way I can describe it.”
His first two years of collegiate availability were spent at Oregon State, where he started seven games over the span of two years. He chose to transfer to Fresno State after Jake Luton was named the starter for the Beavers this season.
McMaryion came to the Bulldogs in pursuit of playing time, and he found it — taking the starting job from Chason Virgil four weeks into the season. He also found immense support from the community, something missing for the past three years.
“I expected some excitement, but just the response I’ve gotten from the Valley and the Dinuba community is just unreal and unbelievable,” the junior said. “It’s definitely pushing me that much more every day knowing how many people are behind me.”
Supporting McMaryion is his high school football coach, Kevin Scharton. Scharton coached McMaryion for two years on Dinuba’s varsity team. The coach had no shortage of positive things to say about McMaryion.
“Team leader, hard worker, gosh, nothing but good things to say about him,” Scharton said. “Whatever sport he was in.”
But Scharton made it clear that McMaryion’s efforts extended far beyond the football field and basketball court. McMaryion worked hard in the classroom, never dropping below a 3.75 GPA, and for his community.
“He’d take the time to go to the elementary schools and speak to them, maybe drop by during a youth football practice,” Scharton said. “At the elementary schools he would talk to them about making the right decisions or he would play with them.”
McMaryion said he does his best to give back to the community. The “Helper Helper” app is his primary source of volunteer hours, he said it makes it easy to be vigilant of any good volunteer opportunities.
McMaryion said those actions were a product of the philosophy instilled by Scharton.
“[Dinuba High] developed the attitude in me of a hardworking mentality. Not always being the most athletic, fastest or strongest, but no one was going to outwork us,” McMaryion said. “That was something that coach Scharton really prided himself on, so I’m just thankful that I got that attitude and mindset out of that program.”
McMaryion said he and Scharton text regularly. Their conversations usually consist of Scharton wishing McMaryion good luck before a game — it’s a tradition that began during McMaryion’s time as a Beaver and continues into his tenure as a Bulldog.
“[The community] is all very happy watching him go out and represent Dinuba,” Scharton said.
McMaryion has made one appearance at a Dinuba game, not because he’s neglecting his former high school, but because he’d rather be supporting his little sister at her middle school volleyball games, a luxury he never got to enjoy while at Oregon State.
“It’s just really convenient, I mean, more than anything it’s just convenient,” McMaryion said of the distance between Dinuba and Fresno.
McMaryion has so much to prove in his remaining time in collegiate football.
“I just hope to leave a legacy, to have a memorable 2017-2018 campaign,” McMaryion said. “Whether I’m throwing five touchdowns or no touchdowns, the No. 1 goal is to keep the wins coming in.”
He has led the team to consecutive conference victories over Nevada and San Jose State. The latter was special for McMaryion because of the Valley Trophy the team brought home.
“It was good. It was exciting. Definitely, I know it means a lot to the community,” he said. “Really we just did it for all of our seniors — guys like Aaron Mitchell that have been here for a long time that haven’t been able to bring it home.”
The homecoming game against New Mexico on Saturday is next for McMaryion and the Bulldogs.