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Superstitious top recruit Marcus McWilson has to listen to Justin Bieber before taking the field

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

Marcus McWilson is one of the top defensive back prospects in the country. A senior at Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney High, McWilson is a four-star recruit who has committed to Nebraska. He's a speedy yet hard-hitting safety who has made a name for himself by proving his toughness.

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Cardinal Mooney safety Marcus McWilson, who listens to Justin Bieber before taking the field — Rivals.com

Cardinal Mooney safety Marcus McWilson, who listens to Justin Bieber before taking the field — Rivals.com

And that's precisely what makes McWilson's pregame routine so bizarre. According to an interview with USA Today, McWilson can't take the field until he's listened to Justin Bieber.

"OK, I'll just admit it; I have to listen to Justin Bieber before I hit the field before a game," McWilson told USA Today. "That's right, I said it. I listen to his song 'Baby' and I love it. I know I'll get a lot of flack over this, but that's just my thing. I've gotta do it. I just don't feel right if I don't hear it before the game.

"I play better when I hear Bieber. That's just how it is."

While McWilson is almost certainly right about the hard time his teammates will give him, his logic for listening to "the Biebs" also holds true. McWilson said that mellowing out to "Baby" helps keep him loose, which in turn ensures that he can play with better reactions.

That's particularly important for a defensive back, where split decisions and physiological reactions can be the difference between a touchdown and a brilliantly deflected ball.

Yet, while that rationale might earn McWilson plenty of sympathy and even encouragement from coaches, it probably won't get his teammates off his back. After all, most 6-foot, 195-pound football dynamos don't strut around to postmodern sugar pop.

Whether or not McWilson gets to keep tuning in to "Baby" when he matriculates in Lincoln remains to be seen. If nothing else, the future freshman may have just opened up a door to some rather unique taunts from future teammates.

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