September 15, 2017
Sept. 15, 2017
By Chelsey Stoa, Michigan State Athletic Communications Staff Assistant
Not many people can say they are a third-generation Spartan athlete, but for fifth-year senior wide receiver Brock Makaric, that’s exactly what he is.
One might say his family bleeds green.
Makaric, a Saginaw native, is back for his senior season after having graduated last spring with a degree in economics. Makaric is pursuing a master’s in human resources and labor relations and is the fourth member of his family to proudly wear the Green and White.
His grandfather, Mike Vorkapich, was a catcher for the Spartan baseball team, and one of his uncles, Steve Vorkapich, was a pitcher for the baseball team in the 1980s.
The third member of his family, another uncle and current Associate Head Strength and Conditioning Coach/Director of Sport Science, Mike Vorkapich, played football for Michigan State in the 1990s. Makaric says the family history of being a Spartan definitely influenced his decision to play football at MSU.
“I’d definitely say that my family had an influence on me choosing Michigan State. I wasn’t really sure where I wanted to go to school, but I talked to my uncle (Vorkapich) and after hearing about his experience at MSU, and listening to my grandpa and uncles tell stories about their time here, it definitely played a big role in me coming here.”
One of Makaric’s favorite parts of being a Spartan athlete is how it’s brought his family closer together. Not only does his immediate family come support him on Saturdays, his extended family does as well. Makaric says his whole family including his grandparents and aunts and uncles will get together after games on Saturdays.
The summer after Makaric graduated from high school, he came to East Lansing to live with his uncle. Vorkapich worked with Makaric that summer to help prepare him to walk-on that fall. After three intense months of training, Makaric made the team in the fall of 2013.
“I am most proud of Brock for his perseverance,” said Vorkapich. “I was a walk-on too, and knowing what it is like to be in his shoes; it’s never easy to go through what you do on a daily basis with the program. You know you’re not on scholarship. You’d love to play and you’d love to get in the game on Saturdays. I am proud of him to keep persevering to try and get that role on the team where he feels like he makes a big difference. He stuck with it and kept pushing on.”
Makaric also believes his perseverance throughout the past five years is something he will take with him and apply to the real world once he completes his Master’s.
“The biggest takeaway from football would have to be to be able to persevere. Being able to keep working hard and to keep going no matter if times are good or if times are tough; you have to keep working hard.”
Vorkapich is glad his nephew made the decision to wear the Green and White.
“Brock wasn’t a Spartan fan when he was little – don’t ask me why. I always thought he was doing it just to tick me off, but somewhere along the line he smartened up,” said Vorkapich with a laugh.
Makaric has not only smartened up, but he has made many lasting memories from his time as a Spartan, and he says there are many things he’ll miss about football when the season comes to a close.
“I will definitely miss just being around the guys. When you’re here for five years you create so many friendships and just coming in every day and hanging out with the guys is definitely something I’ll miss,” Makaric said.
The senior’s favorite memory in working with Vorkapich the past five years was when he first lived with him in the summer of 2013.
“(Vorkapich) is able to relate to me really well because he’s known me forever. My favorite memory was when I worked with him the first summer I got here. Coming straight out of high school I hadn’t really lifted so he was working with me to kind of change my body and get me ready for football.”
Although the senior will miss the relationships he’s made with this teammates, what he says he’ll miss most is the 5 a.m. wake up calls for workouts with his uncle.