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Marion Eubanks Jr. serves as Eastside Eagles' ballhawk in breakout year
Marion Eubanks Jr. runs into the end zone for a touchdown against Clarke Central. - photo by Anthony Banks | The Covington News

Whether it was on offense or defense, Marion Eubanks Jr., served as a ballhawk for the Eastside Eagles in 2023. Eubanks had a breakout year, collecting four receiving touchdowns as well as six interceptions — a few of which were returned for a pick-6. 

All of this was accomplished by the wide receiver and defensive back after not playing football since he was in the fifth grade. Before coming back this year, Eubanks had solely played basketball. 

While Eubanks did not exactly expect quite the season he had, he is glad to have returned to the gridiron.

“I like playing basketball, but this is what I came to Eastside for,” Eubanks said. “I like the coaches. I like playing over here, because they don’t show favoritism to anybody. They let everybody play. All the players are cool.” 

Eubanks led the Eagles with his receiving touchdown and interception total as well as his total receiving yards (376). 

The junior highlighted wide receiver as his favorite position because he likes “making corners look crazy.”  But getting a pick-6 brings about the best feeling for Eubanks. 

His favorite pick-6 came against Winder-Barrow in Eastside’s 56-3 dominant road victory on Oct. 27. But his top moment came when Eubanks picked off Flowery Branch’s quarterback to seal the Eagles’ 39-32 double overtime win to begin Region 8-AAAAA play 1-0. 

Eubanks Jr. makes the catch over two Flowery Branch defenders in Eastside's double overtime win over the Falcons. - photo by Garrett Pitts

Family and friends often refer to Eubanks as “little man.” The nickname comes from his dad — Marion Eubanks Sr. — since his nickname is “man.”

In fact, his dad and other family members helped convince Eubanks to start playing football again. 

“My parents and family were telling me to come back. They were like, ‘You’re good at football.’ And, with basketball, there’s only 10-15 people on the team so you’re not going to have a real chance with my height,” Eubanks said. “So, I just came to football.”

Eubanks said his No. 1 sport is football with his favorite players being Sauce Gardner of the New York Jets and Julio Jones, a former Atlanta Falcon. 

But Eubanks has not totally neglected the hardwood. His favorite player in that arena is the Dallas Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving. 

Now, with the football season behind him, Eubanks is eager to get back to playing basketball as the Eagles’ point guard. 

“I got new teammates, so I got to build chemistry with them again with the new ones,” Eubanks said. “Learn the plays and all that and earn my spot back.”