September 30, 2020

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Diamond in the Rough: Peyton Marcantel

Peyton Marcantel is a 4* ATH out of St. Edmund High School in Eunice, LA. Marcantel checks in at 6’2 220lbs and has incredible speed, power, and agility to compliment his great frame. Peyton plays a multitude of positions, including running back, strong safety, and in the slot. Along with football, Peyton is an outstanding catcher for his high school’s baseball team. Macantel is no stranger to adversity as well. During his baseball career, Peyton suffered an injury while swinging the bat, resulting in a collapsed lung. Not only did Peyton make a full recovery, but claims the injury, as well as his 4 surgeries, have made him an even better athlete and young man.

First off, I want to ask about your injury. Walk me through some of the troubles you experienced through football with surgery and recovering from a collapsed lung.

This may sound surprising, but there’s a lot of positivity that came out of that whole experience. Obviously there were some negatives as well. The recovery time was extremely long and I lost a lot of weight and strength as a result. Fortunately, through very hard work I was able to gain back all of my weight, along with my strength. The whole experience was a great lesson in overcoming adversity. It really forced me to push myself during recover, both on and off the field. Because of that effort, I feel like it made a positive change in my mentality when it comes to going the extra mile in pushing myself.

That is a great thing to hear, especially since you have been able to continue playing sports following that experience. So when did you begin playing football and what drew you into the sport?

I began playing when I was in 5th grade. I first started off in baseball, and to be honest, I wasn’t really the greatest athlete. Eventually I was moved to catcher because I was always a big kid for my age group and that’s when my talent started to show. I was chosen for select baseball and that boosted my confidence levels a lot, which made me consider joining football. Then, around 6th grade, I began to take football very seriously and I’ve excelled ever since. 

What about football, and the positions you play, do you love the most?

I love having control of the football as a running back. However, I’m not a selfish athlete. I’ll play whatever position my coaches ask of me. No position is more important than another, and I think that’s what I love most. Being a multi-position athlete I have first-hand knowledge of that.

You play a lot of positions on your team, but is there any position that you do not play and that you would love to get a shot at?

Definitely linebacker. My older brother played that position, so it’s always a role I’ve been fascinated with. I believe, with my size and speed, I would be a good fit as a linebacker. 

How would you describe yourself as a running back and is there anyone at the next level that you try to model your game after?

I have really good speed and have no problems setting the edge and burning defenders, but because of my size I’m also extremely powerful. So, I guess the best way to describe myself as a runner is extremely balanced. As far as modeling my game after someone, I really don’t try to do that. I watch a lot of films on guys in college and in the NFL and try to pick up on some of their moves, but my main focus is trying to have my own unique style of play, while standing out from the crowd.

Any type of play in particular that you always look forward to getting called during a game?

I love power run calls but also love to run sweeps. The thing I love about sweeps is that it allows your patience to show and also it sets me up to show off my stiff arm. I have a really great stiff arm but lately I’ve been focused on trying to just run straight into people and run over them.

Have you set any personal goals for your senior season? Any team goals that the group of seniors have set for themselves?

As a team we’re trying to become district champs. We’ve won it the last two years so getting it a third straight time would be huge. I take my personal goals on a weekly basis. It’s really not about me it’s about the team and getting better as a unit. I’ll watch film and prepare for our opponent and sort of set a game-time goal, but it’s not a make-or-break thing for me. I’m just focused on continued improvement. 

Is there any person or thing that motivates you for gameday?

I love following guys like Leonard Fournette and Derius Guice. Those guys are always posting a preaching motivational material and it’s awesome to see knowing the struggles they’ve faced early in life. The positivity they display is awesome.

Finally, is there anything outside of sports that you enjoy doing in your free time?

Well, following my surgeries I had to work out a lot, which gave me a huge appreciation for that and a love for working out. Besides that, I mainly just help out my mother around the house with whatever she needs done, and cutting grass if there’s still some daylight left after practice.