Marcus Allen shares a name with a Hall of Fame football player, but the Evans High School receivers coach made his name locally as a baseball player.
Allen addressed a group of area football players before a seven-on-seven passing league started at Greenbrier High on June 23. The league, affiliated with the Greater Augusta Fellowship of Christian Athletes, is held at Greenbrier on Tuesday evenings in June. And each time before drills began, a different speaker gives his or her testimony.
Past speakers included former Augusta State basketball standout Garret Siler and Harlem coach Lonnie Morris.
"It gives kids a chance to get out here ... and work on passing skills," Allen said.
"But the primary focus is to kind of bring people in and let them hear about God in a very safe way, without it being forced upon them."
Allen's turn came last week. He told the campers of his struggles to keep his baseball scholarship at Augusta State after tearing his rotator cuff as a freshman.
At 5-foot-6, Allen could have been overlooked on the mound. He was pitching against then-No. 1 North Florida in 1999 when his rotator cuff tore.
Allen was on a 50 percent scholarship at the time, and coaches told Allen they wanted to see how he did during the summer before extending him the offer again.
At the time, Allen was without a car and without a reliable way to get to work, or to work out and rehab his injury.
"At my lowest point, my mom told me just to pray, get on my knees and pray," Allen said.
He said the next day, while walking in the rain, he was stopped by Glenn Wilkins and offered a ride. Allen knew Wilkins, who worked with a campus ministry and had invited Wilkins to Bible study. But beyond that, they had not had much interaction.
Allen told Wilkins his situation, and Wilkins told him his mother was looking to get rid of a car.
Wilkins' mother gave Allen the car. Allen worked the remainder of the summer and recovered from his injury to play three more years of baseball.
He never pitched again, but he moved to center field after the Jaguars' starter was drafted and chose to play professionally.
Allen taught in middle school before hearing of an openings on the Evans football staff and in the English department.
He also teaches a Bible elective, a class he said he was awarded over more than 15 other applicants after six months at the school.
"In football, we teach guys to stay low," Allen said. "It's the same thing in life. When you get down on your knees and humble yourself and pray, God will answer those prayers. He's more concerned about a relationship than he is at anything else."
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