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A Salute to the 2018 Seniors: Speedy Xavian Marks contributed everywhere

Ess Eee Cee Speeeeeeeeeeed

NCAA Football: Kent State at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Texas track athlete Xavian Marks came to the Alabama Crimson Tide with two traits: versatility, and a blazing speed that seemed even faster on the field than in a straight-line sprint.

He was listed as a three-star recruit, and was definitely undersized for SEC ball — he came in at just 5’8”, 155 as a high school prospect. But, the product of track-meet Texas football, he was courted by several teams with wide-open systems, notably Oregon, Baylor, and Texas A&M. So, it was somewhat surprising to see Marks sign with a power football team in Tuscaloosa, though one that was admittedly in the midst of transitioning to the spread.

His size wasn’t a deterrent though: the fleet Marks came on to campus and vied for a returner role immediately. He eventually saw playing time as a freshman versus Charleston Southern, where he lined up in the backfield.

As a Sophomore in 2016, it was expected that he would compete for a PR or KR role. That year, he started six games at punt returner. In the third tilt of the season, Marks had arguably his best game in crimson: returning four punts for 90 yards, including housing a 75-yarder for the score against Kent State.

The next two seasons would see Marks move out of the backfield and into the wide receiving corps, in addition to being in the return rotation. However, for reasons known only to Nick Saban and Xavian, the next two years, Marks would stay in and out of the Saban doghouse as a returner. It was not uncharacteristic to see Marks field what seemed to be a routine kick only to be greeted with an earful on the sideline. Oddly, it was the doghouse era that saw Marks actually play more as an upperclassman. He contributed in 8 games each of his final two campaigns.

In the end, though, Marks’ size and a loaded 2017-2018 wideout group, limited his opportunities to make more of an impact with the regular offense. Still, Xavian’ did end his Alabama career contributing all over the field in his 21 games-played, posting solid stats with the Tide special teams: 1 rushing attempt (0 yards), 5 receptions (43 yards), 16 PR (187 yards, 11.7 YPA, 1 TD), and 7 KR (123 yards, 17.6 YPA).

Marks is on track to earn his degree in May from the Capstone. We wish him all the best going forward and a hearty Roll Tide.