5. Marcus Dupree
The subject of the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary The Best That Never Was, there isn’t exactly a ton of high school highlight film to watch for Marcus Dupree. Of course, as he went through the high school ranks in the late 1970s/early 1980s, that’s not surprising. But what we do have and what we know about Dupree is simply awe-striking.
An absolute terror of a young man in his mid-teens, Dupree tipped the scales at close to 230 pounds and measured in at 6-foot-3. And watching him move with that frame is something only seen watching Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl. He was tons bigger, miles faster and leagues stronger than anyone he was playing against and it showed every time he touched the football.
After setting the national high school record for touchdowns in a season as a senior (breaking Herschel Walker‘s mark), Dupree made his way to play for the Oklahoma Sooners. And after rushing for 1,393 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman, it all fell apart. He was publicly criticized for his work ethic and, after a concussion, left OU.
He attempted to transfer to Southern Miss but, after being informed of the NCAA’s transfer rules at the time that would rule him ineligible for the following season, he left there as well. Dupree surfaced in the USFL and NFL over the next decade but never lived up to the hype as the next all-world running back. Still, his highlight tape is unlike anything you’ll ever see with how much of a mismatch he was.