Army Black Knight’s Marquel Broughton Thrives Under Pressure

As Vince Lombardi once said: “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.”  Army Black Knight’s Marquel Broughton is the definition of hard work.  Broughton is a two-time captain and senior safety from Lawrenceville, Georgia.  His journey to West Point was not an easy one, but it was one that has built a strong and confident leader on and off the field.

A Natural Leader

Not only was Broughton named a co-captain for Army his second year in a row.  He was also named a regimental commander, and he is in charge of 1,000 cadets. Broughton is the first football player in a decade to become a regimental commander. “The regimental commander makes decisions for the regiment in terms of training. There are lots and lots of meetings. I put everything together for the regiment,” Broughton described. “As a Two-year captain, I am blessed my teammates picked me again and gave me another shot,” said Broughton humbly.

Pre-Season Honors

Marquel Broughton is not only making an impact on the field he is making one off the field as well. He has led several community service projects such as engaging with Army veterans at the Sunrise Senior Living Center in Dix Hills, N.Y., volunteering at the Special Olympics, reading to Highland Falls (NY) Middle School children, and Groceries on Us at dReam Center Church in 2020. Because of his commitment to serving and to his community, he was one of 114 college football players from across the nation to be nominated for the 2022 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.  These student-athletes have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to community service, academics, and making an impact on and off the field.  Unfortunately, he did not make the final 22-man roster, but he does not serve his community for the recognition he serves because that is what he feels called to do.

Balancing Act

Being a student-athlete can be a lot for anyone to handle, then add on to the daily duties of managing a corps of cadets. When asked how do you balance school, football, and regimental commander duties “Wherever my feet are that is where I am at. I know I can’t be everywhere all the time so I make sure I am 100% there and doing what I need to get done wherever I am at the time.”

Broughton is a Business Management major.  He is branch armor, which is tanks and all that encompasses.  In a few short weeks, he will learn where he will be posted.  But don’t count him out on football. He has an unbridled passion for the game  “I really want to be around the game of football. I would love the opportunity to continue to play football after West Point,” he explained.  Broughton is also open to coming back to football via the sidelines and coaching the game he loves.

Service Academies

Brought was offered by West Point Spring of his junior year.  He said his first thought was “I am never going to West Point and in the Army.  This is not for me. I can’t do this. I didn’t have a good perspective on it.” Broughton continued “I watched the Army/Navy game and I was ‘Ok I wanna go here.’ My mom also did a lot of research on the Army and West Point. She kept telling me how this was going to change my life.”  Broughton was recruited by Air Force as well, and on his visit, he watched the Black Knights beat the Falcons 21-0. That visit sealed the deal for Broughton.

Broughton spent his first year at United States Military Academy Preparatory School.  It was not an easy year for the Georgia native.  “My first six months at prep school were horrible.  The culture shock, homesickness and I just didn’t want to buy into the Army and everything that came with it. It hurt me for those first six months. Then I went home and I saw my boys. They were doing the same things we were doing in high school. That flipped the switch for me. I knew I was in the right spot.”


When he was six years old his dad, Antonio Broughton was beaten into a coma and passed away a week later.  After his father’s death his mother, Frederica Daniels made decisions that were driven by her deep grief and depression.  Sadly, these decisions had her in and out of trouble for a while. Marquel was being shuttled between his uncles, grandma, and his mom’s house when she was home. Broughton had to grow up fast.  However, it helped mold him into the hard-working leader he is today. “Watching my mom struggle to take care of three kids inspired me to work hard and be successful,” he explained.

“The reason I came to West Point was to make a generational change for my family. All my family still lives in Lawrenceville (GA).  They are hard workers, but I want to set a path for my future family, as well as my little cousins now. We don’t have to stay in Lawrenceville, we can be more than that, we can have more,” Broughton said with passion.

Southern Roots

Broughton grew up about 30-45 minutes outside of Atlanta. He attended Mountain View High School and played under Nick Bach. His high school life consisted of playing football, and wrestling, where he finished third in the state in his weight class and was a first-team all-county selection.  As if he wasn’t busy enough, he worked at Subway. His busy schedule as a two-sport athlete as well as his after-school job cultivated his tenacious work ethic.

Broughton told us he wants to have a family someday, and he wants to be present for that family.  He knows how it feels to not have a parent around all the time and he doesn’t want to do that to his children. Broughton also knows he wants to continue those Southern roots and raise his kids in a “football” state, he said it would be either Georgia or Texas. When asked if Georgia high school football was better than Texas high school football he answered without hesitation and with a little too much enthusiasm for this Texan, “Yes! Yes! Yes! That’s not even a question,” he said with a chuckle.

When Did You Fall in Love with Football?

“I was six years old.  That was the last thing my dad did for me before he died was to sign me up for football.  That is when I made a connection to football and I started to love it. I just became a football player. It was always my connection to my dad.  I had the same coaches from seven years old to 15 years old. Kenny Runyon, Simon Edwards, Coach Willard, and Coach Ratliff. Those were the guys that helped shape me.

When I was in 9th grade my mom got in trouble again and Coach Edwards let me stay with him. That stability helped me. I was on a bad track and that discipline helped me and allowed me to be where I am now.  They are still my family.”

Playing With Passion

The senior safety played middle linebacker from ages six to 12. He wanted to be like his childhood hero Ray Lewis. When his teammates started growing and he didn’t he was pushed to safety. “I fell in love with the safety position and being the quarterback of the defense. It’s either the Mike linebacker or one of the safeties that are the quarterback of the defense. That is what I fell in love with. I like having that pressure on me.  I thrive under pressure,” Broughton said with conviction.

Although he is a die-hard Atlanta Falcons fan he grew up studying the Baltimore Ravens defense and the play of Lewis and Ed Reed. “They were some bad dudes, reckless, making plays, and celebrating.  I try to embody that kind of passion when I play.”  Lewis continues to be a source of inspiration for Broughton with his motivational posts on social media.

“My first memory of seeing Ray Lewis, he was running onto the field and the camera was on him he was doing his little dance, and he was screaming. That’s the passion I am talking about.  When you love the game that much your passion will show. The way you play, motivate and bring energy to the team,” continued Broughton.

A Man of the People

Broughton doesn’t have much free time but when he does get a chance to unwind, he and some friends will get a game of spades going.  If they are lucky enough to get a pass they will head to the lake to relax or spend the weekend in NYC.  “It is nice just to get away and live a little,” said Marquel.

He is a self-proclaimed people person. “I thrive with people. I bounce ideas and energy off people. And I like to be around people,” Broughton said.  He is one of those guys that is friends with everyone. No core group defines him he can move effortlessly in all groups of people. Perhaps that is why he is such a remarkable leader.

“Being able to lead soldiers, protect our country, and to be able to serve is big to me,”  proclaimed Broughton. “But, if I get the chance to play football at the next level I will accomplish the dreams I had as a kid.”

The whole of the Lombardi leaders being not born quote is as follows “Leadership is not just one quality, but rather a blend of many qualities. And while no one individual possesses all of the talents that are needed for leadership, each man can develop a combination that can make him a leader. Contrary to the opinion of many, leaders are not born; they are made. And they are made by hard effort, which is the price we must all pay for success.” It was like Lombardi was writing about Broughton himself.  Marquel Broughton is a blend of many places, experiences, people, and an unbridled passion for a game that is most like the Army and life “for it teaches that work, sacrifice, perseverance, competitive drive, selflessness, and respect for authority are the price one pays to achieve worthwhile goals.” again Lombardi has described Broughton and his journey perfectly.