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Florida teacher and YouTube sensation uses hip-hop to bring positivity to students' lives

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Posted at 2:40 PM, Jun 22, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. (WFTS) -- Marlon Wood is a man of many talents and many names.

He's a teacher, a hip-hop star, a former football star at the University of Washington, a military veteran, and the son of a Tampa Bay Buccaneers legend.

He goes by Mr. Wood, Bruce Wayne, the Dark Knight.

"Music gives me the opportunity to share my experiences both good and bad," Wood says.

By day, he's a learning specialist at IMG Academy in Bradenton, helping student-athletes with learning differences gain knowledge and intelligence.

"I'm just trying to create positivity in their lives," he says.

He's also a rising star in the music world, his hip-hop videos eclipsing a million views on YouTube, his powerful uplifting songs streaming millions of times online.

His signature? Clean, positive lyrics meant to inspire his students and fans, and colorful gloves to represent his sports past.

"I want to create good, positive music," he says. "It doesn't matter if it's hip-hop, rap, country, rock, I'm going to make it."

Wood's music highlights his ups and downs, which include a frustrating athletic career, marred by injury. He even had a tryout with the Buccaneers, but he could never make it to the next level.

Wood grew up surrounded by sports, Batman comics, and beautiful vinyl records, from Sinatra to Michael Jackson, all thanks to his father, football legend Richard "Batman" Wood, a linebacker for the Bucs.

His father instilled in his son a strong sense of pride in where you live and what you believe in.

"For me, it's embracing where I came from, in a humble way," Wood says.

This story originally reported by Sean Daly on