COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) — Marlon Black, a 21-year-old sophomore at Benedict College, served as an offensive lineman on the Benedict Tigers football team for two semesters.
His life tragically ended after the car he was driving hit another car on Interstate 77 southbound near exit 48 in Fairfield County Sunday.
“Marlon Black controlled his dash by not only winning on the football field, but by winning in the classroom and winning in the game of life,” said Chennis Berry, who coaches the Benedict Tigers football team.
What Berry says what spoke the highest about Marlon was his unwavering commitment to excellence.
“We challenged Marlon to get himself in shape, the best shape of his life,” said Berry. “He’d trimmed himself down and dropped twenty pounds. He was really out there training every day to be the best he could be on his own.”
It’s a passion Berry says stretched to the classroom. Marlon maintained a 4.0 GPA majoring in sports management at Benedict College after transferring from Tennessee State University.
Berry says his relationship with Marlon’s uncle compelled the student to transfer to Benedict.
“He worked his butt off in the classroom. He worked his tail off in the field and in training to become the best student athlete he could be,” Berry added.
Marlon is also referred to as a gentle giant that Berry says spoke volumes when he opened his mouth. Also, he was loved and highly regarded by his teammates.
“They’re experiencing hurt right now,” said Berry, speaking on behalf of fellow athletes.
As the team relies on their faith and closeness to press forward, plans are to honor Marlon who proudly wore jersey 55 in every move going forward.
“He’ll travel with us. We’ll have his jersey with us. We’ll have a locker for him in the locker room,” said Berry. “He may be gone in body, but he’ll never be gone in spirit.”
Benedict College is offering grief counseling and support to the football team and all students as they navigate Marlon’s loss.