From Rainbow Warrior to Kansas City Chief: A closer look at Marcus Kemp

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 11: Wide receiver Marcus Kemp
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 11: Wide receiver Marcus Kemp /

Let’s take a closer look at a wide receiver turning heads for the Kansas City Chiefs as a rookie free agent from Hawaii: Marcus Kemp.

When Patrick Mahomes, the Kansas City Chiefs heralded rookie quarterback, threw his first touchdown of the preseason on Friday night against the San Francisco 49ers, most of us were ecstatic and quickly turned to Twitter. After watching Mahomes throw a pass he should probably not have thrown, I wondered: who is Marcus Kemp?

High School Days

The first thing that comes to mind when hearing his name is Shawn Kemp. Shawn Kemp was an outstanding NBA player and as a writer you hope that there is some relation between the NBA player who has seven children and the undrafted rookie. But alas, there is no connection.

Anyways, back to the Marcus. Kemp is from Layton, Utah. My journalism background forced me to do a little research on the city and what I found was less than interesting. Though, Kemp is the third player from the city to play in the NFL and John Collins (Atlanta Hawks first round pick this season) is also from Layton.

Kemp was a two-star prospect and the 18th best player in the state of Utah. Kemp had a total of 120 tackles during his two years as a starter. After catching just 11 passes as a junior, he caught 46 for 804 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. From there, Kemp chose to attend the University of Hawaii.


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Hawaii struggled, to say the least, during Kemp’s first season on campus, going 0-11 before winning their final game of the season against Army. Kemp registered just 11 receptions for 110 yards and no touchdowns. Kemp had his second best season as a Rainbow Warrior the next year, in 2014, as he led the team with 797 receiving yards.

Hawaii and Kemp took a step back in his junior season (though he led the team in receptions) as Marcus finished with just 36 receptions for 563 yards.

Kemp came back and had a huge year as a senior. Hawaii began the season with a “home game” in Australia against Cal and then went on the road to the Big House to face Michigan. In those two games, Kemp had nine receptions for 169 yards and a touchdown.

The senior from Utah went on to snag 73 balls for 1,100 yards (fifth best in the Mountain West Conference). The Rainbow Warriors won seven games in the process, including their first bowl victory since 2006.


Going into his pre-draft workouts, Kemp wanted to improve on his 40 time. At the combine, Kemp ran a 4.54 forty. Kemp did not blow anyone away with his combine results, but he also didn’t scare anyone away with poor results.

Related Story: Our interview with Marcus Kemp

Future with the Chiefs

Kemp will have to perform well at camp and in the final three preseason games if he hopes to find a place on the team. He has a big body that the Chiefs could definitely use at wide receiver. (At 6’4″, 200 lbs., he’s the tallest on the roster along with another rookie free agent Tony Stevens.) Kemp showed his ability to go up and get the ball on his touchdown Friday night at Arrowhead. The Chiefs will most likely keep just six receivers on the active roster, but Kemp seems like the kind of guy that they would like to keep on the practice squad.