Breakdown all the tools that make Justin Marcus such an attractive option in any passing game and what manifests rather quickly about the Marlboro wide receiver is an indisputable truth – the dude possesses a collection of tools as vast as your local hardware store.

The question is where to begin? His hands are as adhesive as the finest industrial glue on the market, able to catch practically anything thrown in his general vicinity. Looking for reliability? Marcus shares an extreme level of dependability, running crisp routes that cut through a defense like a chainsaw. And, his 6-5, 220-pound figure is as firm as rebar, perfectly suited to support the foundation of an aerial attack.

Marcus substantiated all those points and then some Thursday night in the 41st All-Shore Gridiron Classic at Brick Memorial. Amid an embarrassment of dynamic offensive riches that comprised an explosive Monmouth County offense, especially at the wideout position, the Monmouth University pledge made it clear that despite his modest profile, such strengths were welcomed assets too significant not to be explored.

Working within a gifted group that included the Howell duo of Nasiem Brantley (Sacred Heart) and Ryan Mazik (Rowan), fellow Monmouth recruit T.J. Fosque of Long Branch, Brandon Lombana of Red Bank Catholic (Stonehill College), Scott Scherzer of Manalapan (Marist)  and Kyle Devaney of Mater Dei (Washington and Jefferson), Marcus topped all passing targets for Monmouth with three receptions for 26 yards, marked by a 5-yard TD grab from quarterback Juwan Wilkins of Long Branch that staked his side to a 14-0 cushion.

“The whole week of practice, competing with and against these guys, some of the best talent around, got me ready not just for this game but moving on to Monmouth,” said Marcus, who grabbed 54 passes for 666 yards and two TDs as a senior for Marlboro. “I wanted to go out with a bang.”

Mission accomplished. Over the last two years, Marcus developed a reputation for making the acrobatic catch look routine and the routine appear to be effortless. Heady and sharp in his routes, he built a resume that featured 106 receptions totaling 1,326 yards and eight touchdowns, a notable factor in Marlboro’s gradual ascent into respectability that delicately balanced its running game with his striking magic through the air.

And, although he carries himself in a humble manner, Marcus quietly recognizes his skill is comparable with any when stacked against peers.

“I knew I could play with these guys because I’ve done it since my freshman year,” Marcus said. “I was just glad I got to play with them and not against them.”

Marcus is all too familiar with guys like A North counterparts Mazik, Brantley and the electrifying quarterback Ashante Worthy of Freehold Boro, who backed 10 carries for 94 yards and score by completing 6 of 9 passes that reaped 61 yards, including a 15-yard TD strike to Red Bank Catholic’s Brandon Lombana. What he realized about Worthy is that it’s far more fun playing with the reigning Shore Conference MVP than playing against him.

“Man, was I glad to be on the same side as him,” said Marcus. “He’s definitely the most talented kid I’ve ever played with.”

Always quick to deflect praise, Marcus reserved his final salute to all those that were a part of a meteoric rise over the last two seasons.

“Grateful summarizes it,” he said, adding. “Because of everyone who’s helped me out over these past few years. Just really grateful for where I’m at right now and really excited to move on to the next chapter in my life.”


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