Missouri dual-sport signee Doherty ready to make impact

Doherty: “I think the football guys and the baseball guys are both onboard. And if they’re onboard and I’m onboard, then I think we’re going to make it work.”

During his official visit to the University of Missouri on Dec. 12, 2014, Marquise Doherty was sat down by a handful of coaches.

Among them were football coach Gary Pinkel and baseball coach Tim Jamieson.

In an effort to push him to commit to Mizzou, the Winnetonka High School senior was shown a mock schedule of what his time at the school would look like.

Specifically, the faces of these two programs showed Doherty what his springs would consist of. He could be playing a doubleheader one day and show up to football training the next.

He was sold.

Doherty committed to Mizzou 14 days later, choosing the Tigers over Oregon, and signed on National Signing Day.

Dedicated to becoming a dual-sport athlete at the collegiate level, Doherty said it wasn’t easy to pick between the two athletic powerhouses.

“You’ve got all of the great things like facilities, the (Southeastern Conference), a bunch of guys in the NFL, that type of thing,” Doherty said. “But what it really comes down to is the people. I felt the most comfortable, not only with the coaches and staff at Mizzou, but with the campus and university as a whole.”

The four-star football player is listed not only as a running back and a safety, but also, and more fittingly, as an athlete.

“You obviously have to be a pretty special athlete (to play two sports in college),” Winnetonka football coach Sterling Edwards said. “If you’re not of that elite caliber, then they just want you to play one. The fact that they’re letting him play both tells you what kind of an athlete he is.”

With Missouri losing running back Marcus Murphy to graduation this year, Doherty could come in handy for the football program.

As a senior, Doherty secured 1,037 yards in 137 carries for 15 touchdowns for his high school team, making him the fourth-ranked player in the state of Missouri.

At 6-foot-1-inch and 205 pounds, Doherty runs a 4.62 40-yard dash and won the 55-meter dash at the 2012 AAU National Indoor Track and Field Championships, making it likely for him to be used as a running back for the Tigers.

In terms of baseball, the outfielder could be an asset to a Missouri team that, after last season’s 6-24 conference record, could use all of the help it can get.

Although this is his first year with the team, Winnetonka baseball coach Heath Lay praised Doherty’s work ethic, saying “he’s always willing to go the extra mile” in everything he does.

“On top of his work ethic, he’s a super fast kid,” Lay said. “He also has great range in the outfield and he can hit it. He can swing it really, really well. I think you put all of those characteristics together, then there’s a really good ballplayer coming to Mizzou.”

Along with his knack for performing on both fields, Doherty’s character adds a big strength for Missouri.

Edwards said that during Doherty’s recruitment trips, he would get phone calls from coaches who said they’d “never seen a kid who handled himself that well.”

“He’s the type of kid that most coaches want to coach, and not just because of his ability,” Lay said. “He holds himself to high standards and does well in the classroom. He’s a leader for everyone.”

Balancing two sports is never easy, especially at the collegiate level. Doherty, however, said he is ready for the challenge.

“It will be difficult, but I think I’ll be able to grow into it,” Doherty said. “I think the football guys and the baseball guys are both onboard. And if they’re onboard and I’m onboard, then I think we’re going to make it work.”

However, nothing is set in stone. The athlete will likely be selected in this year’s MLB Draft, and if selected high enough, he’ll have to make a choice.

Doherty said he hasn’t put much thought into it and will think more about that decision when June comes around.

For the time being, Doherty is focused on his final high school baseball season, and maintains his plans to come to Mizzou.

The athlete is not only taking on the challenge of playing, but is setting the bar high for succeeding once he’s a Tiger.

“I want to take Mizzou to the next level,” he said. “Take them to the SEC Championship, win it. And national championship, hopefully in both sports. We’ll see how it goes.”

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