Devils Prospects: Marcus Mbow plays football with his 'heart on his sleeve'

Marcus Mbow, an offensive tackle from Wisconsin, chose ASU over 16 other offers

Growing up, Marcus Mbow never thought he would become a collegiate athlete. But thanks to his coach, mom and younger siblings, the three-star offensive tackle from Wauwatosa East High School in Wisconsin is now one of ASU football's newest recruits.

Mbow spent his childhood juggling both football and basketball and set his eyes on becoming a star basketball player. After his junior season, he knew football was going to be the sport for him.

"I never knew how to play football really until my head coach came about three weeks before last season, and from there I started lifting and training to become the player I am now," Mbow said.

He earned scholarships from a number of Big 10 teams and Arizona — with 17 total offers — and realized he made the right decision.

He gives the credit to his coach for his strength and skill, but the reason he stayed loyal to football is the motivation instilled in him from his mother.

"The reason why I am playing football ... that's my mom," Mbow said. "She made me play football even when I wanted to quit, but (my coach) is the reason why I am skilled now. I wouldn't have been able to do it without him."

Mbow, the oldest of five, said he felt the pressure to become a role model for his younger siblings and show them their dreams could come true.

"Marcus carries a presence with him on the field and in the locker room, he works hard and is quick to support his teammates and push everyone to be the best they can be," former high school teammate Ben Kraft said.

Mbow joins a long list of 2021 recruits set to join Edwards' squad next fall, but this year's recruiting process was not the same as prior years.

"It was a fun and great recruiting process, it just got a little stressful towards the end for someone like me who hasn't been able to visit all the places," Mbow said. "With an anxious mom worrying about if I'll lose a spot or not. She was making sure I was aware of those committing around me."

Mbow said he was sold by ASU's efforts to ensure he would feel comfortable coming to a new state, not having visited before because of the pandemic.

"Coach (Herm) Edwards gave me an offer shortly after speaking to him and from there on, I would talk to the coaches daily and keep in touch with them to continue to build that relationship," he said."I love Coach Edwards' energy. I watched videos on him way before my commitment and saw that he got up at 4 o'clock every morning to work out.

"The whole idea of 'family' comes to mind when I think of the ASU staff."

Kraft said Mbow is the glue that holds the team together.

"As a captain last year, I saw what it took to lead the team and push everyone, and that same energy I saw in Marcus," Kraft said. "He is a leader on the field and in practice, and just being around him inspires you to play better because you know he’s going to give it all he’s got for you and everyone else out there."

Even with multiple scouts watching practices, Mbow always gives the game his all for his teammates and his coaches.

"Junior year I caught my first pass, and he was the first guy to congratulate me." said Brian Hanrahan, another former teammate. "He plays with his heart on his sleeve."

Off the field, Mbow can be found in the kitchen. If he doesn't get drafted into the NFL, he has plans to find a career within the restaurant industry.

"I feel like mixing culinary and business would help a lot more than just culinary, so that caught my eye," Mbow said.

His love for food grew at his current job, where he works as a cook for McGinn's Sports Bar in his Wisconsin hometown. His favorite dish to cook? Orange chicken.

Mbow knew he was going to be a Sun Devil a few weeks before his public announcement, committing to the Sun Devils on July 23, 2020.

"I am super excited to get to ASU. Obviously I am going to miss my mom, dad and siblings, but I am excited to get out and see a new place," he said. "Hopefully I'll be able to get there before January."

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