Marquis McClain didn't want his last game at Southern University to be his final college football game.
Thanks to the HBCU Legacy Bowl in New Orleans, it didn't have to be.
The Southern receiver will play in the inaugural Legacy Bowl, presented by the Black College Football Hall of Fame and featuring players representing historically black colleges and universities, on Saturday at Yulman Stadium on the Tulane University campus.
"For me, I love this game," McClain said. "I love to have the pads on more than anything, so being able to just continue to play football, I love it.
"I didn't even want to stop playing my last game of college, just because I was on the roll of just being out there playing. So I'm just blessed and happy just to be out here to put these pads on."
McLain – a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder – will represent Team Gaither in Saturday's game against Team Robinson. Team Gaither is named in honor of legendary Florida A&M Coach Jake Gaither, and Team Robinson is named for legendary Grambling State Coach Eddie Robinson.
On February 16, 2022, Team Robinson and Team Gaither gathered for Day 2 of practice in preparations for the 2022 HBCU Legacy Bowl at Tom Benson Field at Yulman Stadium.
"This is a blessing," said McClain, who also participated in the HBCU Combine in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 28-29. "Just another great opportunity to be able to showcase my talent, and go to the next level."
McClain spent four seasons at Auburn prior to joining Southern. He caught 28 passes for 400 yards and a touchdown, ran six times for 89 yards and a touchdown, and returned two kickoffs for 71 yards in his lone season at Southern. His most productive game was against Texas Southern, when he caught six passes for 96 yards and had two carries for 66 yards and a touchdown.
He said the time spent at Auburn and Southern was beneficial.
"Both of those experiences, it was about just competing and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, because you only get so many," he said. "Every opportunity counts."
Saturday, he gets another opportunity that he can make count.
"When I got that call from one of my coaches to let me know I got the invite, I was happy," he said. "Because I kept calling. I didn't want to go to any other bowl game except this one."