Proud son of the Bay

Tahisia and Marcellus Scantling are the proud parents of football star Marquez Valdes-Scantling.

BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers squared off with the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game in January, Tahisia and Marcellus Scantling were torn. Of course, they wanted their hometown team to win and go on to become Super Bowl champs, but they also wanted to see their son, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, head to Super Bowl LV.

Wide receiver Valdes-Scantling made his NFL debut in the Packers’ season opener against the Chicago Bears in 2018 and has been tearing it up on the gridiron ever since. He’s a proud son of Tampa Bay, attending Lakewood High School and the University of South Florida. The #83 Packers jersey is cherished by those in both bay areas.

His mother, Tahisia Scantling, is the outgoing protector and love of his life, and his father, Marcellus Scantling, is the coach, family rock and quiet supporter. The two are as one and make up the parental heads of team Marquez.

“Marquez was a wonderful kid growing up. He didn’t give us any problem, and he was very focused on his responsibilities,” his father said.

“I’m thankful for the people who supported me in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area,” said Marquez Valdes-Scantling, wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers.

In Valdes-Scantling’s early years, he was enrolled in advanced courses in the magnet program at Perkins Elementary and later at John Hopkins Middle School. Although performing well in his advanced studies and possessing eye-opening athletic skills, he wanted a simple school career.

When given the opportunity, he didn’t want to skip a grade or get extra attention. He just wanted to be a regular kid who worked hard to achieve good grades.

His parents never had to wake him up to go to school because he couldn’t wait to get out the door. They taught him to love Jesus, respect other people and always give 100 percent. Their message is whatever you do, do it heartily unto the Lord and not unto men.

Valdes-Scantling got his work ethic and dogged perseverance from his parents. His mom found herself pregnant in high school and dropped out. With Marquez in tow, she returned to school, earning a high school diploma. She went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from St. Petersburg College and a master’s from the University of West Florida.

After being in upper management in the financial industry for 20 years, she launched Right Turn Realty in 2019. As a real estate broker and instructor serving her life’s passion, she is focused on being a dream agent helping others live their dreams.

Marcellus Scantling, a senior electronic engineer, earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Engineering from Tampa College and a degree in business from the University of Phoenix. He worked on a program at the Kennedy Space Center that upgraded the space shuttle from analog to digital.

Despite their busy schedules, the Scantlings made their three children top priority. School performance, household chores and verbal communication about daily activities were part of the normal routine.

“In our house, we communicate. This helps to build and keep a good relationship. We talk about everything,” expressed mom. “So, when Marquez is in Green Bay, he knows what’s going on in Florida.”

Valdes-Scantling began his college career at North Carolina State University before transferring to the University of South Florida. After two years in North Carolina, he recognized that it did not feel like the family he was accustomed to.

After a conversation with his dad, he went to his coaches, knowing that he had the support of his family. His parents huddled up to help figure what the next play call would be.

Tahisia Scantling jumped into action, contacting schools that fit the Scantling profile. The University of South Florida made an offer, and the rest is history.

Both parents are proud that their football star is financially, mentally and emotionally responsible. Each year through his not-for-profit, he sponsors a homeless food and clothing drive for the homeless, something he started doing back in college.

For the future, the 26-year-old has his eyes on a coaching career in the NFL. And with the recent success of the Bucs with a diverse coaching staff, the field is opening for people of color.

“Never let anybody say you can’t do a thing,” said Valdes-Scantling. “I’m thankful for the people who supported me in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay area. I’m most grateful for parents who loved me and taught me how to love others.”

To reach Dexter McCree, email dmccree@theweeklychallenger.com

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