Monique Lucas insists that she never pressured her son, Missouri senior wide receiver Marcus Lucas, to play for the Tigers.
While it’s true that Monique, who played women’s basketball at Missouri from 1985-89, remains a steadfast, proud and vocal supporter of her alma mater, she wanted Marcus to make his own college choice.
“I knew that he was the one who had to go to the university and be part of the program,” said Monique, who grew up in St. Joseph. “He was going to have to like it and be happy with his decision.”
Of course, Monique was thrilled when Marcus chose the Tigers and she never tires of seeing him trot onto the field decked out in the same black and gold that she once wore.
“He’s made me very, very proud,” Monique said. “He’s worked hard and definitely elevated his game. He’s done well academically. The whole, well-rounded person he has become has surpassed my wildest dreams.”
However, it’s a dream — at least the college football part of it — with a short shelf life.
Marcus is down to the final three or four games in his college career, depending on whether No. 8 Missouri wins out to clinch the SEC East and qualify for the conference championship game.
“It’s weird to think about, but I graduate (Dec. 13),” Marcus said. “It’s really coming down to the end. It sneaks up on you. It came a lot faster than I thought it would.”
Marcus, a Liberty graduate and the 2008 Otis Taylor Award winner as the top high school wide receiver in metropolitan Kansas City, was always close with his mom, but sharing in the tradition of Tigers athletic further strengthened that bond.
“She’s here every weekend for games — well, here and away,” Marcus said. “It definitely helps with our relationship being so far away. It’s something that brings us closer together every weekend. I can count on seeing her. If I wasn’t an athlete, I might not have the opportunity. I like it a lot.”
It’s also made being a Tiger extra special.
“She’s loving it,” Marcus said. “She’s so proud of me and so proud of the team and what we’ve accomplished so far. For me, to be able to play for Mizzou means a lot. I’ve always grown up being a Tiger. It’s kind of in my blood, so it definitely means a lot to me and means a lot to represent my family.”
This season, it meant sacrifice for Marcus.
Under first-year offensive coordinator Josh Henson, Marcus was converted to a slot receiver — an unusual move for a 6-foot-5, 220-pound speedster.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s something I welcomed and put all my time into,” Marcus said. “It’s been paying off so far, but I just try to be wherever they need me to be honestly and try to contribute as much as possible wherever the offense needs me.”
Marcus, who has caught two touchdowns, leads the team with 46 catches, which matches the career-best he established last season. His 531 yards are a career-high and rank third behind L’Damian Washington (680) and Dorial Green-Beckham (579).