There was a time, about a year ago, when Caleb Marquez attracted attention for his Salvador Perez-inspired haircut – a brightly colored cotton-ball on top of a body that appeared to be carved out of marble.
Today, the Blue Springs High School senior is recognized for being the premier two-way football player in the metro area, along with being one of the top catchers in Suburban Big Seven baseball.
“Caleb could be so intimidating if he wasn’t such a great guy,” said fellow two-way star Daniel Parker, who could also rank among the most intimidating figures on the 10-2 Wildcats football team.
“In the halls or in the classroom, he’s just a guy – a good guy! Everyone likes him. He’s like the Davis twins (Carlos and Khalil, who are now starring on the defensive line at the University of Nebraska) – people just follow him all around the school.
“But when you see him on the sidelines, he’s like this caged beast. He is great on offense, but you put him on defense and he’s like, ‘Go get ’em.’ And he does. He’s amazing.”
Quarterback Chase Donohoe – who threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Marquez and then watched the 6-foot-3, 250-pound fullback rumble into the end zone on a 5-yard touchdown carry in last Friday’s 35-17 Class 6 District 3 championship win over Blue Springs South – agreed with Parker.
“He’s our X-factor – you need to make a big passing play, you throw it to Caleb,” Donohoe said. “You need a big run in the red zone, you hand it off to Caleb. He can do anything out there.”
Oh, in that district win over South, Marquez also had two sacks and a couple of tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
“Caleb Marquez – where do we start talking about Caleb Marquez,” quipped Wildcats coach Kelly Donohoe. “You know, for a time everyone thought of him as a baseball player who played football.
“Have you seen him play baseball? He’s a great catcher and hitter. But now, I think people are thinking of him as a football player. He can do anything we ask of him and he has taken his game to a new level this season.”
Marquez has 19 carries for 105 yards and five touchdowns in his red zone role, 34 receptions for 388 yards four touchdowns and 11 tackles, including five for a loss in his new hybrid linebacker/defensive end role. He’s also a crushing blocker for halfback Aveion Bailey.
“I’m having a blast this year,” Marquez said. “I want to help this team win, and I want to be intimidating on the field, but I never want to intimidate anyone away from it. I know I can be intimidating to people who don’t know me, but my friends just call me a bear.”
He knows when his number is called, it means big things for the Wildcats.
“On offense, I’m usually taller and bigger than the guy defending me, and I love to hit people on defense,” Marquez said. “Offense or defense? Football or baseball? I love all of them.
“I’m getting some football offers and some baseball offers. We’ll just see what happens once the season is over.”