|Hometown:||San Jose, CA|
Marquis L. Jessie '97
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Year Inducted: 2008
Other Sports Played: Baseball
Marquis Jessie came to Brown during a time of transition. His freshman year was the first in which Ivy League first-years would be eligible for varsity play. His sophomore year was the first for Head Coach Mark Whipple ’79 and his wide-open offense. To say that Jessie and Brown football were a good fit for each other during these changes would be an understatement.
In his rookie season, Jessie had to compete against 16 other tailbacks for the Bears’ starting job. However, upon winning the starting job in Brown’s fifth game, he took the position with gusto. Jessie rushed for 170 yards, the ninth-highest total in Brown history at the time, in his starting debut, earning Rookie of the Week honors to become the first freshman to earn an Ivy League weekly football award. He would later break Brown’s single-game rushing record with 237 yards against Columbia, passing the mark set by Bob Margarita in 1942 and again being named Rookie of the Week. Jessie was the only freshman to earn All-Ivy honors, being named to the Second Team after running for 823 yards for the season, then the third-highest mark in Brown history. He received the Joseph V. Paterno Award as Brown’s outstanding male freshman athlete, as well as the team’s Kevin Kehoe Memorial Award as the team’s most valuable freshman.
An injury forced Jessie to miss four games his sophomore season, the team’s first under Whipple, but he still played well enough to earn Honorable Mention All-Ivy honors. The following year, back at full strength, Jessie broke the Bears’ career rushing record in the final game of the season, running for 149 yards against Columbia to end the year with a career mark of 2,168. That total surpassed the old mark of 2,159 set by Jamie Potkul ’86. Again, Jessie earned All-Ivy Honorable Mention, rushing for 728 yards, then the eighth-best performance in Brown history.
In his senior season, Jessie went out with a bang. He ran for 910 yards, the second-best single-season mark in Brown history, bringing his Brown career-record total to 3,098 yards, then sixth-best in Ivy history. He also broke the Brown record for rushing attempts in a career with 672. He was named the National Offensive Player of the Week for his 121 rushing yards against Columbia, his 12th career 100-yard rushing game. He earned Honorable Mention All-Ivy honors for the third time, becoming the first Brown player to be named All-Ivy four times. He received Brown’s Sportsmanship Award, since renamed the David Zucconi ’55 Trophy, and the football team’s Fritz Pollard ’19 Award.
A phenomenal all-around athlete, Jessie also patrolled center field for Brown’s baseball team for three years.