Oct. 1, 2010
By Michael Caples, MSU Athletic Communications Student Assistant
From an early age, Marcus Hyde knew where he would be playing college football.
Despite growing up nearly three hours away from East Lansing, Hyde was a frequent visitor with the MSU football program. His cousin, Richard Newsome, played defensive back for four seasons with the Green and White, and Hyde watched his big cousin as much as he could.
"My cousin played here back when [former coach Nick] Saban was here, so I was up here watching the games, and loved it," the native of Fostoria, Ohio said. "I loved it when I was here. Ever since then, I always wanted to come here, that was my dream to come here and play Spartan football."
Ten years later, Hyde is one of the Spartan leaders on the defensive side of the ball. The fifth-year senior strong safety was responsible for the first Spartan interception of the season, picking off a pass in the third quarter of the season opening 38-14 win over Western Michigan. Hyde has recorded 19 total tackles in the Spartans' first three games, including a career-high 11 tackles - and a game-changing fumble recovery - in the 34-31 overtime win over Notre Dame.
"I think everybody's got to see themselves as a leader out there," Hyde said. "When you're out there on the field, you have to be able to tell the next person if they did something wrong or if they did something good. You have to communicate with them. So I think every guy on the field has to be a leader, and me also being a senior, that puts even more on me to be a leader."
It has been quite a journey for the fifth-year senior as he climbed his way up the MSU depth chart. Hyde redshirted in 2006, and appeared in 10 games the next year, but no starts. The safety made his first start in 2008, filling in for standout Otis Wiley in the hostile environment of Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
"I was so ready to play," Hyde said. "I really hate sitting on the bench. I was excited. Coach came up to me and said you are starting, and I was very excited. I thank God for giving me the chance to do it, and it was an amazing feeling."
Hyde recorded four tackles, his first career interception, and he recovered a fumble in the Spartans' 35-21 win over their in-state rivals. Hyde posted 23 tackles over the final six games of the year, and finished with 31 total tackles. In 2009, Hyde played in all 13 MSU games, and started seven times. He recorded a career-high 46 tackles for the season, including four against Texas Tech in the 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl.
When asked who he credited most for helping him become a NCAA student-athlete at a Big Ten school, Hyde pointed to his mother, Pam Hampton, and the close-knit town of 15,000 he grew up in.
"There are so many things that I can put it to," Hyde said. "Family friends, family, just anybody. You learn from everybody. At home, there were a lot of people that helped us out. My mother is a very strong person; she did a great job raising us, and also everyone else in Fostoria.
"My mother, my friend's parent...my coach Tom Grimes, Ken Watson, there's many people and if I forgot them I'm sorry."
Hyde said the word "us" because he isn't the only Hyde to earn a football scholarship. When the Spartans travel to Iowa City on Oct. 30, the MSU receiving corps will be battling Hyde's brother, Micah, a sophomore cornerback for the Hawkeyes. Hyde said while he believes his brother looks up to him, he also wanted to create his own path.
"He just made his own choice," Hyde said. "I can't tell him what to do, he's got to live his own life. He just felt that was the best place for him. And truthfully, I don't think he wants to follow in my footsteps. You can't tell him you did something wrong, it's his life. You can't change it.
"He's playing, he's working hard," Hyde said of Micah. "That's one thing that my mom established, you got to work hard and you have to earn what you get. He's over there doing what he has to do, and best of luck to him."
Hyde said that while his brother may be away at Iowa, he has plenty of family in East Lansing. When asked about what players helped him as an underclassman at MSU, the fifth-year senior talked about what his teammates mean to him.
"The upper class just from my freshman year and all the way up, everyone I've played with, I appreciate everything they did," Hyde said. "From film, we watch film all the time, you learn...you learn from everything. I appreciate every guy I've ever played with. I love `em. They're my brothers."
Hyde will graduate with a degree in advertising in December, and he hopes to find a job where he can use his communication skills - "I love to talk" - to someday raise a family in his favorite city, Atlanta. But for now, he wants to enjoy his last games in his green and white uniform.
"It's been going well," Hyde said of his final season. "It's my senior year, and you have to enjoy every game. Every game's a big game, and just coming out every day and practicing and working hard with my teammates - it's great."
GETTING TO KNOW Marcus Hyde:
FAVORITE SPORT OTHER THAN FOOTBALL: "Baseball. I played baseball since I was this big, I always played baseball."
FAVORITE PRO TEAM: "I really don't have a favorite pro team, I just like football."
FAVORITE ATHLETE: "I like watching [Troy] Polamalu slash around. Bob Sanders, I like watching him. I like watching a lot of safeties, you can learn from them. I like watching Ray Lewis, he's a hitter...he's going to be ready for every game."
IF YOU COULD TRADE PLACES WITH ANYBODY IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD IT BE: "I wouldn't trade places. I wouldn't want to ask for another life. I like where I'm at right now. I don't want to be put in a position to be at the top, I want to work my way to be what I can be."
FAVORITE NON-SPORT ACTIVITY: "Everything. I'm always playing games. I can just walk down the street with somebody and I'll just kick a stone and play a game, and get competitive over that."
GADGET YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: "I can't live without my cell phone."
This feature was originally published in the Sept. 25 edition of Michigan State Football Gameday Magazine.