Marshall Faulk – Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame
Carver High School/San Diego State/NFL
Marshall Faulk was such a talented and versatile athlete growing up in New Orleans that seemingly every coach had a spot for him. He ran track, played baseball and basketball, but football was where he stood out the most. Though as a senior he would play quarterback, tight end, receiver, cornerback and even kicker, it was running back where Faulk was destined to become a legend.
In his final two seasons at Carver High, Faulk rushed for 1,800 yards and scored 32 touchdowns. Though he was pursued by bigger programs such as LSU, Nebraska, Miami, and Texas A&M, Faulk chose San Diego State as his college because the Aztecs promised him the best opportunity to develop as a running back.
Faulk went on to become one of the most productive running backs in NCAA and NFL history. In just his second collegiate game he gained 386 yards and scored six touchdowns. During his four-year career with the Aztecs he set numerous school records, including the one for career touchdowns (62).
After being selected No. 2 overall in the 1994 NFL Draft, Faulk went on to play five seasons for the Indianapolis Colts and seven for the St. Louis Rams. A seven-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time first-team All-Pro selection, he had seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons and gained more than 2,000 yards in total offense in four seasons. Faulk scored 136 touchdowns (100 rushing, 36 receiving) in his career. He is the only player in NFL history to accumulate 12,000 rushing yards and 6,000 receiving yards. His 19,172 all-purpose yards ranks sixth all-time in NFL history. He will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this summer.
Marshall Faulk poses with Sugar Bowl President Lance Africk at Faulk’s Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame induction in 2011.
Faulk’s speed, quickness, and vision were obvious attributes that helped make him a special player, but less obvious to the naked eye was his intelligence and studious approach to the game. He was respected for his detailed note-taking in team meetings and was known to chastise teammates who didn’t do the same.
Opponents also noticed the cerebral element to Faulk’s game. Former Giants All-Pro defensive end Michael Strahan, who played 15 seasons, said he saw Faulk do something he had never seen before from a running back.
“He was a coach out there,” Strahan said. “I’d look across the line at Faulk, and he’d be standing in the backfield, directing traffic. He’s making adjustments in their protection, he’s getting the players lined up properly, he’s telling (QB) Kurt (Warner) what to look out for.
“I’ve never seen a running back do that — take over the offense and get everyone in place before the snap. Marshall was an amazing player in every way.”
Growing up in the Desire Housing Project, Faulk was surrounded by dangers that easily could have diverted him from the path that took to him to football immortality. But Marshall Faulk was too smart and too talented to allow that to happen.
“There are people who grew up in rough environments, and you just don’t hear about it, and they make it in business,” Faulk once said. “I don’t think that makes me what I am. What makes me what I am is that you have success, but you keep your head on straight and you make the right decisions in life.”
Story submitted by Les East of the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.