Fort Lauderdale, Florida native Marcus Lafrance was in seventh grade when he made a decision that would ultimately change the course of his life; switching from his childhood sport of soccer in order to play football with his best friends.
“I felt like I was the only one really playing soccer,” Lafrance said. “Those kids talked about football so much, and I felt like I should be one those guys talking about the same sport.”
Lafrance, an expected 2019 graduate, played for two years at Boyd Anderson High School and a year at Blanche Ely High School before transferring to St. Thomas Aquinas High School this year, where he will join coach Roger Harriott.
“He’s a good coach; he made me feel like I was home,” Lafrance said.
St. Thomas Aquinas has won five of the last ten Florida state championships and is a highly regarded school in Florida that is known for preparing their football players to play at the collegiate and professional level.
“Many players come out of that area not only getting power five offers, but they get drafted in the long run,” said Gainesville Sun reporter Graham Hall. “A guy like Marcus who can play defensive back and free safety is going to have no shortage of opportunities by transferring there.”
As a 6-foot-3-inch, 170-pound cornerback, Lafrance maintains a physical presence at the line of scrimmage and uses his length to cause pass-break-ups.
Before holding offers from schools such as Texas, Louisville and Western Kentucky, Lafrance had only visited Georgia State and Auburn but was not offered a scholarship.
While going to a park to do drills one July morning, Lafrance noticed former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III running around the track. After allowing him to finish his workout, Lafrance asked Griffin to throw to him as he was going through his drills. Griffin, who had been released by the Browns four-months earlier, was in a similar situation as Lafrance as they were both waiting for someone to give them a chance. After completing their workout, Griffin shared some advice with Lafrance.
“He asked me if I had any offers and I told him no I didn’t,” Lafrance said. “He said, ‘Don’t let the discourage you. If you love the game, you won’t stop playing. Keep fighting and keeping doing what you’re doing. Don’t ever give up because eventually the work is going to pay off.’”
Eventually that work paid off when Lafrance received the opportunity to participate in the Florida Fire 7-on-7 camp at Milander Park, which took place the weekend before he officially announced his transfer to St. Thomas Aquinas.
“Lafrance doesn’t hold any scholarship offers right now, but that should change after Sunday’s performance,” wrote 247Sports scout Andrew Ivins after completion of the camp. “[Lafrance] played lockdown coverage and was able to use his long arms to reroute wide receivers.”
On the Tuesday after the camp, Lafrance announced that he had received his first collegiate offer from the University of Texas.
“I felt like a big chip came off my shoulder but I didn’t let that push me too high; I stayed humble and I acted like I’ve been there before,” Lafrance said.
Although Lafrance was grateful for his offer from Texas, he admits that he never imagined that he would receive an offer after everything he has been through in his life.
“The situations that I’ve been through, I felt like college coaches were never going to look at me or offer me.”
As someone who grew up with four other siblings and a mother who played both parent roles, Lafrance admits that he uses the football field as an escape from frustrations and pressure situations that life brings his way.
“After a good victory, or play, or pass break up, it makes me feel happy,” Lafrance said. “The game of football brings a lot of joy to my heart. I love the game of football.”
Before entering the field, Lafrance always says a prayer. Lafrance grew up in a family who has a strong belief in their faith and he understands he would be nowhere today without his trust in his religion.
“I don’t let anything interfere with me and God. And I’m thankful that God put me in the position that I am in today,” Lafrance said.
As for a decision on what college he would like to attend, Lafrance says that he does not know at the moment but the main factors include the type of education he will receive and whether his skill set will fit their defensive scheme.
“Education is the biggest and number one thing for me and my family,” Lafrance said.
Lafrance intends on going to school to study law enforcement due to his desire to assist people in any way possible.
His current focus is on this upcoming season with St. Thomas Aquinas. Currently, he is running the 200 and 400 meter for the track and field team and has seen an improvement in his speed that allows him to keep up with a lot of receivers.
After only being able to play in four games last season at Blanche Ely due to a broken finger, Lafrance has set high expectations for himself this year.
“Obviously I would like to accomplish a lot, because this past season I only got to play four games. I want to get better at covering, no passes caught on me this season and I’m trying to win a state championship,” Lafrance said. “It’s like a big chip on my shoulder.”