Wednesday, August 19, 2009

S.C. State standout will miss season but hopes to return

Injured McFadden remains upbeat
S.C. State standout will miss season but hopes to return and take his shot at the NFL
By CHRIS DEARING - Special to The State

Linebacker Marshall McFadden

ORANGEBURG — South Carolina State linebacker Marshall McFadden had big plans for his final season.
The fifth-year senior has started all 37 games in his career and was on the radar of several NFL scouts. He felt with a strong season, he could earn an invite to the NFL Combine and continue his playing career beyond college.
But all those plans were derailed when McFadden broke his right wrist on the first day in full pads and will miss the season.
“Hearing the words that I was done for the season brought tears to my eyes,” the former Lamar High standout said Saturday morning during S.C. State’s media day at Oliver C. Dawson Bulldog Stadium. “After I talked to the doctor and coaches, and they said I might be able to play next year, it brought a little life back to me. “
McFadden said the school will petition the NCAA to allow for a sixth-year of eligibility. He played as a true freshman in 2005 but missed all but two games in 2007 with an elbow injury.
He returned last year and moved from strong safety to middle linebacker. He flourished in the new role and finished tied for the team lead with 88 total tackles, including a team-high 51 unassisted stops. That earned him second-team All-MEAC honors and he was a preseason first-team pick this year.
S.C. State coach Buddy Pough had seen his team stay relatively healthy last year in winning the MEAC title. The Bulldogs finished 10-3 overall and 8-0 in the league, losing in the first round of the FCS playoffs to Appalachian State.
“Injuries never come at a good time, but you hate to lose somebody of Marshall’s caliber even before the season starts,” Pough said. “He was a major force on defense, and it’s going to be hard to replace his production on and off the field.”
Defensive coordinator Mike Adams said he will miss what the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder did on the field but added that his leadership will be the hardest facet to replace.
“On the field, he’s such a presence out there, but off the field and in the locker room, he’s the guy that I rely on to keep everybody straight,” Adams said. “We will find enough good players to kind of make up for it, but off the field is where it’s really going to hurt. I want to keep him as close to me as possible. He is still a leader for this group and he understands that. I think being around the guys is going to help him get through this.”
McFadden will graduate in December, and even though the doctors have told him his season is over, he said he is ready to go if the Bulldogs have a chance to win the MEAC again and return to the playoffs.
“The doctor told me that I would be out for the season, but you never know how the human body works,” McFadden said. “I feel like (comic book character) Wolverine. I might make a miraculous comeback. If that’s possible that might be what I do. If we’re in the situation to win the MEAC and go to the playoffs, then I will probably go ahead and play.”
Note. Former Clemson offensive lineman Barry Humphries will not play for the Bulldogs this year. He intended to transfer to S.C. State for his final season, but after taking a physical, he decided he would not be able to play. Humphries was recovering from ACL surgery last September.
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