Marshall Faulk was among the inductees Tuesday night in the Class of 2017 for the College Football Hall of Fame. Earlier in the day, ESPN’s Holly Rowe interviewed Faulk about his college career at San Diego State.
ROWE: “(He was) one of those I was fortunate to cover when I was a young reporter starting out. In 1991 to 1993, nobody was better than San Diego State running back Marshall Faulk. He was a three-time first-team All-American, a three-time Heisman finalist and twice he led the nation in rushing. Although San Diego State lately is making that look like a really simple thing, it was not simple during Marshall's time.
“Marshall was overlooked by a lot of coaches. And you have said you did not choose San Diego State as much as they chose you. What was it that stood out that San Diego State was able to see and find in you?”
FAULK: “First of all, just the opportunity coming out of high school. This was the time before they had a position called an ‘athlete’ playing multiple positions, making it hard for the scouts to decide what I was, whether it was a cornerback or a safety or a receiver, running back or quarterback. It was difficult. Now you have the position of ‘athlete.’ You just put him on your team, play him anywhere, both sides of the ball, it didn't matter. They saw in me what I saw and believed in myself, which was that regardless of what position I played, when the ball was in my hands, it was — I was pretty darn good with it.
“So with that, I wanted to play running back because I felt like aside from quarterback, you got to do a lot with the football. I think for me if you've been to San Diego and you are laying there, you drive down the 163 onto the 8 and you go on this beautiful campus, it starts to explain why the marriage between myself and San Diego State still exists.”
ROWE: “You were able to break the NCAA record (with 386 rushing yards against Pacific in 1991) in just your second collegiate game. And you had so much success earlier in your career, but it was really before the Internet and all this drama and all the social media stuff. How do you feel like you were kind of able to capture that attention and that lightning for the national media playing at a smaller place like San Diego State at that time?”
FAULK: “First of all, I think what helped for us was playing on Thursday nights. That was the birth of Thursday Night Football in a sense. And our games coming on late on Saturday when we did play. Most of the time when you play early on Saturday, you're competing with big conferences. And our night games really got a lot of attention. And with ESPN really starting to ramp up their coverage with college football. The exposure at night to catch a game that was still going on when they were doing SportsCenter, it was always fun that they were tracking my yards and touchdowns and stuff like that. It got a lot of exposure for the Western Athletic Conference at the time.”
ROWE: ”You had such a distinguished NFL career. And of all the things that you've been able to do, what is it, as you go into the College Football Hall of Fame, that stands out to you that you really appreciate about yourself?”
FAULK: “Probably, first of all, the decision I made. It's a tough decision deciding what college to go to. You want to make sure you make the right decision and that decision is the best one for you. I feel like the decision to go to San Diego State was the best decision I could have made.
“It was not the school that a lot of people would have chosen for me. But you sit in the pro locker room and you talk about your university and what's going on, and I'm proud of what we had done at San Diego State because you can go to a school and allow the history of the school to make you or you can go to the school and make history. And I believe that I did that.”
ROWE: “He was just so beautiful to watch, if you didn't get to see him. I got to be there. I feel so lucky.”