Thomas Marchman was perceptive to the environment.
While the North Hall High graduate and rising senior offensive tackle at Mercer University was reading with a teammate to special-needs students at a school last year in Macon, he decided to switch things up a little bit.
The towering red-headed lineman knows he carries clout in the community as a member of Mercer’s football program. He puts it to good use on a regular basis.
Marchman and his Bears teammate invited the children outside for about 30 minutes to toss the pigskin around. He said that small action drew a wonderful reaction from the students who had the honor of entertaining special guests.
It seems like such a small action, but it’s decisions like those that helped Marchman become one of 146 nominees for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team. The 22 award recipients — 11 from the Football Bowl Subdivision and 11 from the smaller classifications — will be announced in September.
“This award is completely off-the-field endeavors, which is really cool,” said Marchman, a key part to Mercer’s offensive line. “I think athletes do have a life outside of their sports.
“And to me, it’s a huge honor. I’m extremely humbled.”
Marchman has also been a leader of Young Life, a Christian-based organization, at Stratford Academy, a Macon private school, since his sophomore year at Mercer. It’s all about building relationships with them, in hopes of eventually sharing the message of the Bible.
He’s been able to do this and has made some lifelong friendships that mean a lot to him.
“It’s been really cool just to get to know guys and really build deep relationships with them and just walk through high school with them because high school kind of sucks sometimes,” Marchman said.
On top of reading to students and being a Young Life leader, Marchman finds time to take part in a backpack ministry with a church in Macon, which ensures students in need don’t go without nutritious meals while home for the weekend.
It’s surprising that a student-athlete could have time to do all of this, along with the regular demands of the classroom. Marchman says it’s all about priorities, along with support from a school and football program that puts a big influence on service.
According to Marchman, Mercer schedules its workouts and practices early in the morning so the players have time in the evening to take part in different activities, like service work, after they get out of class.
“I mean, if it’s important to you, you’ll find time,” Marchman said. “There’s a lot of time in the day, even now, that I waste. So if I’m just careful about how I spend my time and organizing the schedule for the day, then it really does not seem stressful at all. It honestly makes college more fun and more enjoyable.”
The nomination for the award is just an added bonus that helps him realize he, along with many other student-athletes, are making a difference in their communities all around the country.
“It’s cool that they recognize guys like this, who do put a lot of time outside their sport for good reasons and good causes,” Marchman said.