Marcus Williamson is Ohio State's philosopher defensive back
Marcus Williamson was one of three players to start all eight games for the Ohio State defense last year. The defensive back was on the field for 408 snaps.
Prior to that, he had played only 205 total snaps in three years combined. He had never started a game.
So with 2020 looking like a breakthrough performance, a platform off of which to build something truly special, when the NCAA granted athletes an additional year of eligibility, Williamson decided to come back.
He's now a grad student and what is known as a super senior.
This year, he admits, though, hasn't quite gone the way he had hoped. He has still found ways to contribute and has 13 tackles and one pass breakup in five games.
Williamson is a Westerville native, and he’s hoping to have an even bigger second half of the season as he plays in front of his friends and neighbors.
Learn more about Marcus Williamson with this Columbus Dispatch Q&A.
Meet Ohio State football defensive back Marcus Williamson
You graduated with a degree in history, so if you could make a movie about someone from history, who would it be and why?
I love movies. Wow. So that's kind of like two of my passions. I love movies. I love history. Over the summer I was reading a biography about Marcus Aurelius and just studying his stoicism; some of his philosophies; his approach to leadership to how he ran his government, his empire. So maybe a nice little biography might be something to dive into.
Have you read his Meditations?
No, not fully. So I got the biography first. I was planning on going to the Meditations, but you know football got started, and you know how that goes.
Being a movie guy, what are your favorite films?
Oh, I love sci-fi. I love adventure. I have a "Goonies" poster up on my wall. Like the Spielberg-type films, I'm just a nut for those. I kind of like a romance every once in a while, too. Will Smith does some good ones. Something like that just to change it up.
If you had a movie made about you, who would the actor be you would want cast in that role?
For a while, everyone dreamed of Chadwick Boseman playing their character. Rest in peace to him. I don't know. Maybe Denzel's son (John David Washington). I really like him.
I looked at your Twitter feed and you're not afraid to take a political stand. What's an issue that is really important to you that you wish more Americans paid attention to?
I would honestly say — maybe it's personal to me, people I'm close to — but I would just say mental health. I think resources and attention is very limited in that field, and so many people struggle with it. You'd be surprised just how many guys I talk to on the team or on the street or in my personal life, and it's just like, the things people struggle through, man. It doesn't discriminate: race, gender, age, class. So maybe if we could go in that direction that's something that would mean a lot to me.
Do you want to share why it's personal to you?
I've struggled a little bit, just in my journey coming up. And thankfully a lot of light has been shed on it now. We're able to learn about ourselves and our struggles. Because I'd go as far as to say 10-15 years ago, we wouldn't be having this conversation. So something that has been very personal to me. I've lost friends to mental health issues. It's just something that is very dear to my heart. Doing what I can to use my platform to shed light on things that I'm passionate about is something I really care deeply for.
I'll say this, and maybe a lot of athletes may struggle with this in college or whenever they feel the tail end of their career is coming, but I've had struggles all throughout college — injuries, personal life — and I found myself in a spot not really having direction. And I think it's very easy to lose yourself in that sense. To be able to reclaim my life, reclaim my goals, reclaim my passions and just start to live life; I think finding that through my spirituality and my connection to something I feel like is higher than me has been huge for my life and where I see it going.
What do you want the first line of your Wikipedia page to read?
I want it to say philanthropist first. I think that would be pretty balling. So philanthropist and then whatever follows. But I want to be known for giving.
You seem to be a Milwaukee Bucks fan?
No, I just love Giannis (Antetokounmpo). I love listening to his interviews. He's such a character. He's so in-depth with his responses. He's just so good on the basketball court too. So I'm a Giannis fan, not a Bucks fan.
Are there any other teams or any other athletes in other sports that you admire and follow?
I'm all Cleveland, honestly. I moved to Columbus about second grade, so I spent a good amount of time up there. So Browns, Cavs. That's pretty much how I get down.
What do you like most about Columbus?
I love the diversity. I love the people here. People of Ohio, Columbus, they're so passionate; they're so hard working. It can be hard in Ohio. The sky is grey nine months out of the year, but some way, people just find the way to put their best foot forward every day. And I just admire it, to see the community and what they do.
How often do people recognize you when you're out?
You know, I say most of the time, it's people I've maybe have had an acquittance with or somebody, maybe I knew them from Little League or just in the past. I think my family has just been in this community so long that I just kind of start to have those connections naturally, so I wouldn't say too much. And I try to stay in the house, so...
What do you like to do when you're at home?
Meditate. I'm really big on mindfulness and meditation. I read a bit. I'm really into fantasy. I try autobiographies, you know try to learn a bit, but at the end of the day, I'm kind of an escapist. So I might do a little fantasy, watch a little movie, and then this past year, I've been cooking a lot.
Is there a particular kind of meditation you use?
I got a little bit into yoga this past summer. Started learning a little bit about pranayama yoga, which is a lot of breathing, some movement. You know, just kind of doing my own thing, trying to find that inner peace in the midst of the storm because football? It gets intense. So you've got to find that time to wind down and feel like yourself, collect your thoughts, and I just try to find productive outlets.
And what is something you wish Ohio State fans knew about you that they don't know already?
This is kind of random, but I love dogs.
Do you have one?
I have a dog. His name is Velo. He's like a terrier mix, like a toy fox terrier, maybe a little rat terrier.
How'd you come up with Velo?
I don't know. I just looked at him. He was so small when I got him. He was a baby. He looked like a Velo. It just came to me.
Does he do any tricks?
He can disappear. That boy gets out the house, and he runs all around the neighborhood.