Explorers in the Pros

Craig Hentrich - Class of '89

Craig Hentrich from MarquetteCraig Hentrich is a 1989 graduate who in his time at Marquette was named a consensus All American by all national publications covering high school football, including Parade Magazine and USA Today. During his Senior year at MCHS, he was the most highly recruited kicker and punter in the country and had scholarships offers from all major football programs. Craig went on to a prolific career at the University of Notre Dame, where he was the first kicker offered a full scholarship. While at Notre Dame Hentrich finished his career with a school-record 44.1-yard punting average and had 39 career field goals (on 56 attempts) to rank second behind John Carney’s 51. Also, he finished his career ranked second on the school's all-time scoring list with 294 points, the most ever by an Irish kicker, and made a record 98.3 percent (177/180) of his PAT attempts. He was drafted in the National Football League's (NFL) eighth round by the New York Jets in 1993 but eventually signed with the Green Bay Packers.  Hentrich went on to play in 3 Super Bowls and became a Super Bowl Champion with the Packers victory over the New England Patriots in 1996. He went on to sign with the Tennessee Titans in 1998 where he played in another Super Bowl game against the St. Louis Rams in 1999.  Hentrich eventually retired from the NFL with after the Titans 2009 season, his 17th in the NFL.  On September 3, 2016, Marquette retired Hentrich's jersey in a celebration ceremony at a home football game attended by many of his teammates, classmates, family, friends and fans. Read more...

2009 VIDEO of Hentrich retirement ceremony with the Tennessee Titans -- click here

2015 VIDEO of Hentrich interview about his career with the Green Bay Packers -- click here

Michael Ford - Class of '14


Ford played both running back and defensive back for the Explorers. As a senior, he was named first-team all-conference on both offense and defense and All-State at running back after rushing for 1,614 yards and 28 touchdowns, scoring an additional five touchdowns on returns and recording 69 tackles with two fumble recoveries and three interceptions on defense.


Ford spent five seasons at Southeast Missouri State University, redshirting his freshman season and playing wide receiver as a redshirt freshman. He was moved to defensive back at the beginning of his redshirt freshman season. As a redshirt sophomore, his first season as a starter, Ford made 44 tackles and had five interceptions and seven pass breakups and was named second-team All-Ohio Valley Conference. As a redshirt senior, Ford made 32 tackles with two sacks, an interception and 14 passes broken up.


Ford signed with the Detroit Lions as an Undrafted Free Agent on April 28, 2018. He failed to make the active roster out of training camp and was subsequently re-signed by the Lions to the team's practice squad on September 2, 2018. Ford was promoted to the Lions' active roster on November 14, 2018 and made his NFL debut on November 18, 2018, when he started at cornerback and played on special teams in a 20-19 win over the Carolina Panthers, recording two tackles. In his rookie season, Ford played in seven games (four starts) with 25 tackles.  In the 2019 season, his second, he has appeared in 11 games. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Ford_(cornerback)



Alexis Silkwood - Class of '13


  • A four-year starter for Marquette Catholic under the direction of head coach Dan Wiedman
  • A MaxPreps Medium Schools All-American in 2013
  • Left Marquette Catholic as the state’s career record holder with 124 wins, 100 shutouts, 54 no-hitters and 1,907 strikeouts
  • Ranks second with 15 career perfect games and checks in 13th in career earned-run average (0.34)
  • Owns Illinois single-season records in strikeouts (501/2011), shutouts (28/2012), no-hitters (19/2012) and consecutive no-hitters (seven/2013)
  • As a senior, averaged 16.1 strikeouts per contest, won 30 games, posted a 0.44 earned-run average and 443 strikeouts in 208 innings, batting .552 with an on-base percentage of .644
  • Scored 42 runs and produced 17 doubles, five triples, four home runs and 41 RBI during final season
  • Guided the Explorers to the Illinois High School Association Class 3A state championship game as a senior, with MCHS going 31-7 during final campaign
  • During senior year, twirled 15 no-hitters, the second-most in a year in state history, and tossed a state-record seven consecutive no-hitters 
  • Went 34-3 as a junior with a 0.24 earned-run average and helped Marquette Catholic to the 2A regional championship
  • Struck out 500 batters as a junior, one shy of her own state record of 501 whiffs set as a sophomore
  • Named Fox 2/Arby’s Athlete of the Week
  • During freshman year, helped the Explorers to a fourth-place finish during the Class 2A state tournament
At Mississippi State University: 
  • 1st in wins (59)
  • 1st in strikeouts (555)
  • 1st in innings pitched (665.0)
  • 1st in appearances (145)
  • 1st in complete games (50)
  • 2nd in games started (96)
  • 3rd in saves (9)
  • T-3rd in shutouts (13)
  • 5th in opponent batting average (.234)
  • 6th in strikeouts per seven innings (5.84)
  • T-6th in solo no-hitters (1)

 Click here for more about Alexis' college career 

Alexis continued her playing career in the National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) league after being drafted by the Akron Racers in the fifth round as the 24th overall pick of the 2017 draft. During her rookie season, she led the Racers with 23 appearances and tossed 52.0 innings, recorded 31 strikeouts and held a 2.96 ERA while helping the team reach the NPF semifinals.

The East Alton, Ill., native earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a minor in history from Mississippi State in 2018. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in sports administration at the University of Louisville.

Shane Smith - Class of '08

Pro Athlete Shane Smith from MarquetteShane Smith is a 2008 Marquette grad. In December of 2019 Smith earned one of forty spots on the PGA Korn Ferry Tour, which is the feeder tour for the PGA Tour. 

In his time at Marquette, Shane earned first-team All-Conference honors in 2006 and 2007 for the South Central Conference. He placed 5th in the IHSA State Finals in 2006 and 11th in 2007. He went on to become an NJCAA All American at Lewis and Clark and a CCIW All-Conference selection at Illinois Wesleyan University in 2011 and 2012. He is the only three-time winner of the Alton Gold Medal Tournament (2010, 2011 and 2012) and the Greater Godfrey Open Tournament in 2007 and 2012.  In 2012 Shane qualified and made the cut in the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and spent a year playing in the Asian Development Tour. Smith has two career professional victories, both on the Arizona based Gateway Tour. Read More...

Smith Earns Korn Ferry Tour Spot - click here  to read more 


Mary Ellen Jacobs - Class of '03

Pro Athlete Mary Ellen Jacobs from Marquette

At Marquette Catholic Mary Ellen was a standout three-sport student-athlete, playing golf, basketball, and soccer. An All-conference selection in basketball, she also a Captain, the leading scorer, a first-team all-conference selection and Honorable Mention All-State for the Explorers soccer team.

Mary Ellen made four IHSA State Finals appearances, including winning the State Championship as an individual in 2002, following a one-hole playoff. She finished second as a junior, eleventh as a sophomore and fourth as a freshman. In her senior year at Marquette, she was ranked 26th nationally. 

She went on to play at Tulane University where she led the Green Wave with a stroke average of 75.33, finished in the top ten four times, and tied for third at the Conference USA championship. She was a first-team all-Conference USA selection and ranked 46th by Golfweek Magazine. The effects of Hurrican Katrina forced her to transfer to the University of Arizona.

As a Wildcat Mary Ellen finished in eighth place at the North and South Amateur in Pinehurst, N.C., tied for 10th at the Mercedes-Benz Collegiate Championship and shot a season-low 73 three times throughout her sophomore season.

She earned honorable mention All-American honors from Golfweek magazine, named as a second-team All Pac-10 selection, named to the first-team All Pac-10 Academic Team. She finished second on the team in stroke average (74.23) as a junior and finished 40th at the NCAA Championships. As a representative to the World University Games in Bangkok, Thailand she helped the U.S. earn the bronze medal.

A member of the LPGA, Mary is the Golf Pro at the famous Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, California and the author of the children's book One, Two, Follow Through. 





Matt Smith - Class of '96

Pro Athlete Matt Smith from MarquetteAfter a standout career at MCHS, Matt went on to two play for two years at Lewis and Clark Community College, where he was selected All-Conference and All-Region both years. He had 18 home runs and a .375 batting average at LCCC, as well as a 12-5 pitching record with a 3.15 ERA. His career at Lewis and Clark led to him being inducted into the school's Hall of Fame, as well as a scholarship to Southwest Missouri State University. 

In 1999 Matt was drafted by the New York Mets, with whom he played for 2 years, prior to playing nearly 5 years in the Chicago White Sox organization, where he was named an All-Star at the Double-A level and led the league in appearances (71) in 2004. Also in 2004 Matt was named to the White Sox Major League team (40 man roster) and enjoyed success with their Triple-A team. As a free agent, he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he played for their Memphis Triple-A team. Matt resides in St. Louis with his wife and their two children. He is a graduate of SIUE and is the West Coast Sales Manager for Dot Foods. 


Chris Erwin - Class of '94

Pro Athlete Chris Erwin from MarquetteAfter a successful career at Marquette Catholic, Chris began his collegiate career at Evansville University. He then went on to a successful career at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville (SIUE) where he started in 109 games for the Division 1 Cougars. He went on to play in the Rookie League for the Texas Rangers organization. Chris is an agent for State Farm Insurance and resides in Godfrey, IL with his wife and four children. 


Tom Roth - Class of '85

Tom Roth, New Orleans Saints and Oakland RaidersRoth was a standout lineman at Marquette and attended SIU-Carbondale on a full scholarship. The offensive guard played four years for the Salukis (1988-91). He was a second-team all-conference pick in 1991. He went on to be a 12th round draft pick of the NFL's Los Angeles Raiders and later played for the New Orleans Saints. He is currently a Vice Principal at Jersey Community High School in Jerseyville, IL.




John "Jack" Fallon - Class of 1944

Jack Fallon Jack Fallon was a Captain of the Marquette football team and a three year letter winner before taking his skills to the University of Notre Dame. At Notre Dame Fallon won the University's Heavyweight Boxing Championship. As a member of the Irish football team, he played for legendary Coach Frank Leahy who was a teammate of Marquette Coach Joe Stephan when they both played at Notre Dame for Knute Rockne. Fallon played for the Irish when they won back to back National Championships in 1946 and 1947 and was a starter on their 1948 team. Fallon would go on to be drafted in the 17th round of the 1948 draft by the Chicago Bears.  Read more...