He walks into the room: All six feet and 230 pounds of him. A biker’s helmet in one arm and a smile on his face. He is very intimidating looking, rightfully so for a football player. But junior running back Marcus Coker is one of the nicest guys off the field.
Coker transferred from Iowa after two seasons with the Hawkeyes. In those two seasons, he rushed for over 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns. He finished second in the Big Ten in rushing and was named to the second-team all conference after gaining 1,384 yards as a sophomore. In 2010 he was named co-MVP of the Insight Bowl against No. 12 Missouri after rushing for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
He came over to Stony Brook in 2012 and gave the Seawolves, along with senior Miguel Maysonet, the top rushing attack in the Big South Conference and one of the best in the Northeast. Coker was able to adapt to the change well, as he rushed for 1,018 yards and nine touchdowns. It was a big difference for him, as he left a big name school in Iowa to come to a rising athletic program in Stony Brook. “It was a totally different atmosphere than I was expecting, the crowd was a lot more bigger and they came out every game, no matter who we were playing or what was up for grabs,” Coker said.
Coker admitted he did struggle a little at first, but with the help of head coach Chuck Priore, he was able to overcome it and have a great year. “I was stressing a lot, I wasn’t playing as well as I wanted to, he was telling me to have fun and to go out there and do what I can do,” Coker said.
Coker played in 13 games last season, starting in two of them. He had a season-high 29 rushes in the first round of the playoffs against Villanova. His top offensive performance came at Presbyterian on Oct. 27, when he rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
With the duo of Maysonet and Coker, the Seawolves were able to reach the second round of the FCS Playoffs. Stony Brook defeated Villanova in the first round 20-10, but fell to Montana State 16-10. Coker described the Villanova win as his favorite moment while at Stony Brook, with intentions of doing it again.
In order to adapt as quickly as he did, Coker needed some help from fellow running back Maysonet. Maysonet, a local Long Island kid who is gaining some serious draft consideration, took Coker under his wing and showed him around Stony Brook, on and off the field. “Just to have fun. He’s a clown,” Coker said. “How everything works at Stony Brook, stuff like the flow, the game.”
The Seawolves are switching conferences next season, leaving the Big South for the CAA. After finishing 5-1 on the season in the Big South, Stony Brook will now be taking on tougher teams like Delaware, Towson, Villanova and Albany. “I have to grind everyday, give it 110 percent,“ Coker said. “It’s the same process every time: Watch a lot of film, just learn what those guys do and try to exploit it.” Stony Brook is somewhat familiar with Villanova, which it beat this season, and Albany, which it beat 31-28 in the first round in 2011.
Coker is from Maryland, so the transfer has been easier for his mother, as she can now attend more games. During his time at DeMatha Catholic High School, Coker was named all-state, all-county and all-conference two times. He ran for 1,698 yards and 23 touchdowns as a senior. His biggest game in high school came against Gilman, where he ran a school record, 392 yards and five touchdowns.