Background and High School
Marques Tuiasosopo (born March 22, 1979 in Woodinville, Washington) is the son of former NFL defensive lineman Manu Tuiasosopo, who played collegiately for UCLA, then professionally from 1979-86 for the Seahawks and 49ers and the brother of fullback Zach Tuiasosopo who played for the Philadelphia Eagles until he was waived on 11 July 2007. His youngest brother, Matt Tuiasosopo, plays baseball professionally in the Seattle Mariners organization. Marques was raised in Woodinville, a suburb northeast of Seattle. An excellent athlete, he was also a standout shortstop in baseball at Woodinville High School. After his senior year, Tuiasosopo was drafted in the 28th round of the 1997 Major League Baseball Draft by the Minnesota Twins, but chose to play college football instead. Because he played on both offense & defense in high school (option quarterback & safety), he was primarily recruited by Division I football programs to play defense. Marques accepted a football scholarship to the University of Washington in Seattle, primarily because Jim Lambright was one of the few head coaches that would grant him the opportunity to compete at quarterback, rather than just at safety.
In September 1997, just months out of high school, he was called into action in a nationally-televised home game against Nebraska, due to an injury to starting quarterback Brock Huard. Despite losing 27-14, Tuiasosopo was impressive against the sixth ranked (and eventual national-champion) Cornhuskers, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns. Later in the year against Oregon, he became the Huskies' first true freshman to start a game at quarterback, throwing for 261 yards and rushing for 95, in a 28-31 loss. He also played considerably the following year for the oft-injured Huard, and never did use his redshirt season. Following the 1998 season, Rick Neuheisel replaced Lambright as head coach, and named Marques as the starting quarterback to replace the graduating Huard. As a junior in October 1999, Tuiasosopo became the only player in NCAA college football history to pass for over 300 yards and run for over 200 yards in a game, during a 35-30 victory over the Stanford Cardinal at Husky Stadium. That year he led the Huskies to a 6-2 conference record, finishing in second place to the Cardinal and earning the team a bid to the 1999 Holiday Bowl. As a senior in 2000, he led the Huskies to the Pac-10 title and a 34-24 Rose Bowl victory over the Purdue Boilermakers, and was named the MVP of the game. The Huskies finished the season with an 11-1 record, ranked third in the national polls. The season included a victory over the Miami Hurricanes at Husky Stadium in September, the Hurricanes only loss of the season. Tuiasosopo threw for 225 yards and a touchdown and ran for 45 yards and another touchdown in the 34-29 win, earning national acclaim as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate.
Before the Jets
In April 2001, Tuiasosopo was selected by the Raiders in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, the 59th overall pick and the fourth quarterback selected (behind Michael Vick, Drew Brees, & Quincy Carter). In the NFL, Tuiasosopo has primarily been a reserve quarterback, the Raiders' backup to Rich Gannon and Kerry Collins. He was on the sidelines for Super Bowl XXXVII at the conclusion of the 2002 NFL season, but did not appear in the game as his team lost 48-21. His first significant playing time came during a Monday Night Football game during the 2003 season, throwing for 224 yards, all in the second half. Marques played well enough to earn his first career NFL start the following week, but struggled, throwing for just 65 yards along with an interception before leaving the game with an injury late in the first half. He did not start another game until late in the [ season, where he again struggled losing 26-10. He was promptly demoted back to the sidelines the next week. The team finished just 4-12 in the 2005 season with primarily Kerry Collins as the starting quarterback, paving the way for the younger Tuiasosopo to receive more consideration for the job.