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By Randy York
Before Husker offensive line starter Marcel Jones finished his first of five seasons at Nebraska, he simplified the definition of a hero. A hero in Nebraska, he learned quickly, is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with being a Cornhusker and wearing that Big Red uniform. Period, end of sentence, but please feel free to add an exclamation point because this academically inclined, well respected Phoenix native is so humble, he's worthy of extra emphasis.
Jones, 6-foot-7 and 320 pounds, is a gentle giant who said this week that he's been at Nebraska long enough, volunteered at enough community service events often enough and talked to enough kids on and off the field over the past five years to reach a simple conclusion. "We know that kids in Nebraska look up to us as their heroes," he said.
Having that built-in role model status is the only emotional ammunition Jones needs to get fired up for Friday's first-ever Nebraska-Iowa Heroes Game at Memorial Stadium. "What better way to showcase that than to go out and play a great game and win for those kids that look up to us?" Jones said Tuesday. "I think we owe it to our fans to win that first Heroes Game Trophy and keep it in the great state of Nebraska. Plus, I would love to finish off my senior game with a win and put us in line for another 10-win season."
Time to Make One More Lasting Memory
Jones has so much talent, he got his first start as a redshirt freshman against Western Michigan, and he's looking forward to his grand finale Tunnel Walk Friday morning. "This is it," he said. "It's time to go out, end on a good note and make one more lasting memory on this field with my brothers."
One of 21 Nebraska seniors, Jones says he'd also like to win one for a school that believes in him and has taught him so much about life. "What makes Nebraska so different from other programs," he said, "is we're just as competitive off the field as we are on the field. We excel in all aspects of life, whether it's in our sport, in the classroom or in the community. We have top-of-the-line trainers, coaches and advisors, and they support us every step of the way."
A Construction Management major, Jones said Nebraska has taught him discipline, hard work, resiliency, time allocation and keeping a good schedule. "They've taught me how to be accountable, so I can be trusted and depended on," he said. "Every trait I've learned through practice and playing will help me succeed in life after college and after football. Five years from now, I envision myself either playing professionally or working in the construction industry for a good firm that builds houses. I would love working on major projects that will help benefit people. When you come to Nebraska, you learn quickly that this place is all about people."
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