Trotter brothers stay close

first_imgView Gallery (2 Photos)It’s been four years since Michael and Marcus Trotter’s brother committed suicide. Aleksas Trotter was a state-champion high school gymnast, training for college and a shot at the Olympics before a shoulder injury put an end to his career. At the age of 21, on April 19, 2008, after a long bout with depression, Aleksas took his own life.The twins – Michael and Marcus – were still in high school at the time and were given the news as their father picked them up for their routine, 40-plus minute car ride from Marquette High School in Milwaukee to their home in Racine, Wis.“When it happened, it was such a nightmare,” Marcus said. “I still remember the day like it was yesterday when I sat down in the car. My dad told me when he picked me up from high school. I just remember sitting there on the car ride home. … It was a tragedy, but I definitely see it as motivation.”Marcus, a linebacker, and Michael, a safety, can often be seen at practice sporting shirts with “Fly High” hand-written on the front – just one of the few ways the duo continues to honor and remember their brother.In fact, simply playing football and pushing each other to work hard is another tribute in itself.“I think not only football, but everything in life,” Marcus said. “Ever since he died, I always felt like I could attribute something to him, just not only in football but also how I interact with people, how I treat my parents and how I treat my siblings. … Everything I do in life, I just want to work as hard as I can and be the best person I can be just for my brother because that’s who he was and that’s what he would want me to do.”In a family gifted with athleticism, the twins’ older sister Alana also pursued a collegiate basketball career, first with Ohio State and then transferring to Wisconsin after one year. Alana suffered a season-ending injury and missed the 2008-09 season before retiring from the game in 2010 to focus on her studies.For Michael and Marcus, they’re just trying to stay healthy and make an impact on the sport they love and make their family proud.“[Aleksas] was a gymnast; he was training for the Olympics before he stopped doing his thing,” Michael said. “Also for our sister, too. She had a bad knee injury playing here, which stopped here. It’s like the ‘Trotter Curse’ with the injuries stopping us. Marcus and I are trying to do it for our sister, trying to break the curse. Now we’ve each had our hamstring injuries, but we have three more years to make them proud, make our family proud.”When it came to playing football at Wisconsin, only Michael was guaranteed a scholarship, and Marcus still maintains his walk-on status.During their recruiting process, Michael admits he fully expected his brother to be the one to get a scholarship, not himself, simply because Marcus was more outgoing and talked about it. But when the offers rolled in, the Badgers offered Michael a spot, not Marcus.Marcus chose to forego his scholarship offer from Wofford to walk on at Wisconsin to play for the team he grew up with and continue to play alongside his brother.“It’s just so normal for me because we’ve always been on the same team,” Marcus said. “There was one instance when we weren’t and that was in like the eighth grade city all-star game or something like that when we were on separate teams. That was the only time. We’ve always been together. It’d be different if you asked me what it would be like not being with him because I’m always with him.”The Trotters – both redshirt sophomores – have yet to make a strong name for themselves on the Badger squad.Marcus, a 6-foot, 222-pound linebacker, sits on the depth chart behind redshirt junior and defensive anchor Chris Borland. Trotter only played in five games last season – mostly on special teams and notched a total of four tackles over those five games – but Marcus was also sidelined for part of the season due to a hamstring injury.Michael, a 6-foot, 210-pound safety, saw more action than his brother, playing in 12 of the Badgers’ 14 games, missing only the Northern Illinois game and the Big Ten Championship Game. He recorded just one tackle on the season, which came against South Dakota.Defensive coordinator Chris Ash said the two need to show they can be consistent, trustworthy players, but they have an unparalleled enthusiasm for the game.“They’re both very passionate about football,” Ash said. “They’re students of the game. They’re constantly watching film, trying to improve their game. They play hard, they’ve got great motors and they keep getting better every single day.”It’s a passion they hope will one day translate into their own success, a success they can’t wait to share together.“We’re just waiting for our shot,” Michael said. “When it happens, I’ll be happy to be right next to you.”last_img

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