It was a difficult transition for Marcus Rose when he arrived at Fresno City College in 2013 from Clovis North High School.
The wide receiver played in just five games and his passion for the sport was starting to fade. School, too.
After a game against San Joaquin Delta at Ratcliffe Stadium, Rose started thinking about his future. He’d had enough. He quit – and didn’t notify coaches and teammates he had no desire to play again.
Too much was weighing on Rose’s mind.
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“I started having anxiety and started getting depression,” Rose said. “That was really a big part on me, especially playing the sport I love. Everything came down on me all at once, and I never had that happen. I wasn’t there for the game.”
Now 21 and having gone through a two-year hiatus from football, Rose is back with the Rams, who are ranked No. 11 heading into their game against No. 9 American River at 6 p.m. Saturday at Ratcliffe Stadium.
Only his family knew about his depression and anxiety. Rose’s mother, Debbie Rose Gough, said it was tough to see her child experience depression.
Watching your only son go through this struggle was very difficult.
Debbie Rose Gough
“As a parent you want nothing but the best for your child, and seeing him go downhill was devastating,” she said.
Rose Gough said she did everything she could and took Rose to a therapist until they lost their insurance.
Rose said coaches tried to call him to find out what was going on, and “I kind of logged out of the world at the time.”
Rose attempted to get back to school and football but grades were in the way. As he worked to improve his grades, his passion for football started to return while working out with former Clovis North teammate Christian Rossi, who played quarterback for Fresno City the past two years and is now at Fresno State.
Rose still had to clear another hurdle to clear if he wanted to play – Rams coach Tony Caviglia.
“I remember that conversation, and he was asking me, ‘Where have you been?’ ” Rose said. “I told him I was just going through some life problems. I didn’t open up to him. He told me, ‘You know, Marcus? You’re lucky that I like you.’ ”
135 Team-leading receiving yards for Marcus Rose this season for Fresno City
Said Caviglia: “We’re just happy that he’s able to come back and now he’s doing good things. He overcame a lot.”
Though Rose conquered depression, he still deals with anxiety, but he said it’s not bad as before.
“I pray a lot, honestly, every day,” he said. “The No. 1 reason why I’m even on this field is God. God definitely helped me out to put me in this position. I feel like when I was deep down in the hole, that made me realize that you need to put God first to even be in a good situation. He’ll put you through tough times to realize the type of person you are.”
This season, Rose leads the team with 135 receiving yards and a touchdown. Looking back, he feels going through adversity helped him become a stronger person.
“I made a mistake in quitting football,” he said. “I was immature and I didn’t know how to deal with everything. Life just hit me out of nowhere. But then when I think back, I feel like I needed to go through that so I can realize how important football really is to me. This is the sport I love.”
American River (2-1) at Fresno City (2-1): 6 p.m. Saturday at Ratcliffe Stadium