When talking about our favorite teams, it's often easy to forget that they represent institutions of higher learning. So often our traditions and pageantry are steeped in history and lore. Take Middle Tennessee for instance. You might not be aware that the nickname Blue Raiders was originally established to invoke the image of the seafaring pirates who later settled ancient Greece.
Okay, so that might be a lie. The name was actually stolen from Colgate University because Raiders sounds badass. But that doesn't make the moniker any less meaningful. You might even think the name is cooler now that you know the ancient Greeks were pirates.
That might be a lie too. I'm not sure anymore because Greek history is complicated and I was a terrible student. But that doesn't matter. What does matter is I now have a flimsy excuse to compare this year's MTSU stand-outs to figures from Greek mythology. Could you imagine if you had a Titan playing free safety? Don't come over the middle, bro.
Leighton Gasque - Apollo
It's only appropriate that Sr. LB Gasque gets to be Apollo. The Greek god of knowledge was said to be the perfect physical specimen. I would say that is pretty spot on for the 202-pound team leader in sacks. It's also appropriate considering Gasque is a senior with a 4.0 in MTSU's highly touted aerospace program, and got to skip summer workouts so he could intern at NASA.
Marcus Henry - Midas
Henry is Middle Tennessee's leading returning receiver, and could be one of the school's best of all time. Like Midas, the senior really does have the golden touch, averaging 14.4 yards per catch in 2013, with a catch rate of 66.7%. In case you are unaware, that's good.
T.T. Barber - Moros
You may be wondering what the hell a Moros is and how it describes junior all-conference LB T.T. Barber. Off to Wikipedia! "Moros is the personification of impending doom, who drives mortals to their deadly fate." Yup. That's Barber alright.
Austin Grammer - Zeus
Though Coach Stockstill hasn't quite made it official yet, redshirt sophomore Austin Grammer will likely be the one leading the Blue Raiders this year. He's been the leading candidate all along, and is the only QB on the roster with playing time under his belt. It was all in backup roles, but even Zeus had to start somewhere. But unlike Zeus, when Grammer throws lightning bolts, they rarely hit the ground.
Cody Clark - Achilles
Clark may have been the hero last year against in-state rival Memphis, but he's been known to have trouble with his feet. Just to be clear, that's not the best attribute for a kicker.