The illustrious career of one of the great Washington State Cougars of all-time will come to an end on Thursday, April 24 2014. Tacoma, WA native Marcus Trufant has announced he will be retiring from football after 11 seasons of active status.
We Cougar fans never did come up with a good nickname like “Trufant Island” or “The Isle of Tru“, but Pac-10 quarterbacks still have nightmares about him and on a crisp, Fall Saturday the name “TRUUUUUUUUU” could be heard loud and clear, bellowing across the rolling hills of the Palouse.
During that time Marcus garnered plenty of college football hardware and in his final two seasons did not surrender a single touchdown to his side of the field. That needs to be restated and italicized for effect, so let’s do it. Not a single touchdown in two seasons of play, in the wide-open, pass-happy Pac-10 Conference! And those were the years Pac-10 quarterbacks emerged as the best in the country! But they had nothing on Tru.
Joey Harrington at Oregon (fourth in the 2001 Heisman race)?… nope. 2002 Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer at USC?… nope. Hmmm, Cody Pickett (threw for 4,500 yards in 2002) at Washington?… no sir! In 2001 and 2002 Trufant owned them all, as well as the rest of the quarterbacks he faced. That span includes performances against Drew Brees in the Sun Bowl vs Purdue, a trip to the Horseshoe at Ohio State and of course the Rose Bowl game against the Oklahoma Sooners. If ever the word “Legit” had to be used at WSU, Trufant embodied it.
I still remember going to a chilly prime time game at Martin against UCLA after Trufant had broken his arm in a previous game. It was clear on that day that he was probably the best cornerback in the country, as he ran around like a caged… well, Cougar… smacking around Bruins and airborne footballs alike in a cast (or more effectively termed ‘club’) that completely immobilized his wrist and fingers while covering the length of his forearm. He tore UCLA (and left me and about 33,000 other Coug fans without a voice) that day while almost picking off at least two passes with one arm. The Cougs ultimately ended up winning a thriller.
A look at some of the accomplishments of Marcus Trufant.
- In 1999 he earned a well-deserved spot on the Pac-10 All-Freshman team.
- As a junior in 2001 he was named honorable mention All-Pac-10.
- In his final season (2002) Trufant would be named to both First-team All-Pac-10 and got additional accolades being named Second-team All-American. The Cougars won the Pac-10 Conference that year and went to the Rose Bowl, where they lost to Oklahoma.
- Part of the first back-to-back 10-win campaigns in WSU football history.
- In 2003 he was selected 11th by the Seattle Seahawks as the highest Cougar defensive player ever to be selected in the NFL Draft.
As far as how he will retire, the Seahawks organization has agreed to a classy move and will re-sign one of the all-time Northwest favorites to a 1-day retirement deal today. This of course will allow him to ride off into the sunset as part of the organization where he played 10 seasons, before signing with Jacksonville last year and spending most of the season as a free agent after being cut by the Jaguars at the end of preseason.
As a Seahawk, Tru recorded 644 tackles, snatched 21 interceptions, forced five fumbles and gobbled up six fumble recoveries. He was of course a cornerstone of the 2005 Super Bowl run that ended with the Steelers raising the Lombardi Trophy but was released well before the 2013/2014 Super Bowl team took shape in Seattle.
Tru(th) be told, the Seahawks should send a ring his way, but he’s one of several Seahawks who deserved to win it all and never did. So while that isn’t likely to happen, this is the next best thing and the fact that he played in both the Rose Bowl and the Super Bowl will be something that very few men will ever be able to say they’ve achieved.
Bleacher Report even tagged Tru as “the greatest defensive player of all time for Washington State“, among the likes of Ronnie Lott of USC, Chris McAllister of Arizona, Terrell Suggs of ASU and Steve Emtman of Washington.
Adieu, Mr. Trufant! You were fun to watch and we Cougar fans miss you already!