Polk’s Cunningham signs with Mars Hill

Published 6:10 pm Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Markece Cunningham, center, signs with Mars Hill while PCHS Football Coach Bruce Ollis and family look on. Shown with Cunningham are (back row, left to right) his cousin, Aliyha Mullins; Ollis and sister, Nakiyah Miller; (front row, left to right) his aunt Tonya Cunningham and his mother, Rhonda Cunningham. (photo by Samantha Hurst)

Polk County High School senior Markece Cunningham signed to play football with Mars Hill College Tuesday, March 27 surrounded by PCHS Football Coach Bruce Ollis and family.
“Mars Hill was the team that sought him out first and kept in contact with him the longest,” Ollis said. “I told him that showed these people had a true interest in him and really wanted him on their team.”
For Cunningham, feeling like he found a team and a school where he would really matter was important.
“I went up there for a football camp and basically lived for three days like a freshman,” Cunningham said of his experience with Mars Hill College. “I like the community a lot because it’s a good environment and I feel like I’ll fit in there.”
Cunningham had an impressive season as a defensive tackle and tight end for the Wolverines this year. He was named Mr. Wolverine, and Ollis said he believes he’ll make an impact at Mars Hill. Ollis said being a multi-sport player while in high school would give Cunningham an advantage.
“Coaches like a multi-sport player because they see what they can do when their time is divided and believe their abilities will only enhance once focused on one sport all year long,” Ollis said.
Cunningham’s mom, Rhonda Cunningham, said her son knows how to multi-task. Throughout high school he’s held down a job, played sports and kept good grades, she said.
“I’m sad to see him go off to college and become a man but I have faith in him,” Rhonda said. “He’s always been a good kid.”
Ollis said that determination to do well and succeed makes Cunningham a good recruit.
“He’s put a lot of effort forth in the weight room and improved his skill level this year,” Ollis said. “It’s really paid off for him.”