Last year, Gabe Marks led Washington State with 894 receiving yards and 13 receiving touchdowns and finished his collegiate career as the Pac-12’s all-time leader in receptions. He is considered one of the top receiver prospects in this year’s NFL Draft.
He’s also considered one of the most thoughtful and outspoken. In fact, Marks has been called the most interesting football player in the nation.
“It’s an honor,” Marks said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “It’s an honor to be called an interesting person. That means that people think that what you say is obviously interesting. It’s a cool thing. It’s better than being boring.”
By its nature, though, football does not lend itself to creative thinkers and personalities. You’re not supposed to be individualistic; you’re supposed to be ritualistic and, as the saying goes, just be part of the team. The 5-11, 189-pound Marks is certainly a good teammate, but he’s not afraid to express his thoughts.
Playing for Mike Leach may have been the perfect fit for his personality.
“Yeah, it worked out for me,” Marks said. “First of all, I’d like to say that there’s a lot of interesting players out there that play, unique guys. But there’s definitely a way to do both. You always got to be yourself at the end of the day. That’s really important. But you can also be that and be a team player and part of the team and do what’s necessary for the team to be as good as it can be. So it’s a fine line. It takes a bit of a skill to do, but there’s been a lot of great, memorable athletes and football players that have been really unique. It’s just about knowing when to and when not to. It’s a tough gig, but someone’s got to do it.”
It’ll be interesting to see where Marks lands at the next level. His next head coach may be fine with Marks speaking his mind, or he may not be.
“I guess that’s depending on the coaching, obviously on who you get,” Marks said. “You got to be able to adapt a little bit. Stay true to yourself but adapt to what your job is. I’ve had different position coaches that have different personalities. I’ve dealt with different people throughout my life I’ve needed to work with or for at the moment. It’s just about being able to adapt and stuff like that to your surroundings. But it’s America. You can say whatever you want. You got freedom of speech. That’s what makes the country great and everything, but sometimes if you’re going to say something, you got to know that there could be repercussions. So I just try to say things that I feel strongly about and that are right and the truth. Usually people don’t really have a problem with that.”
Interestingly, Marks is an avid reader but did not read Leach’s book, “Geronimo: Leadership Strategies of an American Warrior,” which came out in 2014.
“No, I have not,” Marks said. “I’ve gotten enough of Coach Leach in five years. I think we’ve earned our rite of passage, including the Mike Leach thing, and there’s a lot of other things that we can take the time to read. We get enough of the daily Mike Leach. That book is for the fans that want to get closer to Mike Leach. I can’t get any closer now than I am.”