NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin football player Marlon Walls is all about breaking the stereotype of college athletes; and it’s safe to say that he is well on his way. Walls is not only a standout safety, but also a 4.0 engineering student. He is the reigning 2016 Southland Conference student-athlete of the year, and he amazes both on and off the field.

Being an engineering major or a Division 1 football player are both time consuming on their own, but somehow Marlon manages to do both. “It’s just all about time management. Everyone gets the same 24 hours in a day,” Walls stated.

Walls always knew he wanted to pursue a career in engineering. “Growing up, I always knew I had an interest in math. In the 3rd grade, I was always the fastest guy in the class at multiplication tables.”

Marlon’s days are long and strenuous. They begin around 6:00 AM as he eats breakfast and prepares for his first class. After a full day of classes, he heads to the football field for several hours of practice and film study. After practice concludes, he studies until roughly midnight, and wakes up the following day to do it all over again.

His hard work has paid off and he recently accepted a summer internship at Johns Hopkins University, where he’ll work on a space probe called the Europa propulsion module.

Marlon hopes his journey will inspire others. "My main goal is to be able to defy the odds and not be the stereotype that everyone makes football players to be,” Walls explained.

After graduation, Marlon plans to get his master’s degree and fulfill a career in engineering/space. Wherever he ends up, he will succeed.