Markus Levonte Wheaton (born February 7, 1991) is an American football wide receiver and kick returner for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). Wheaton played college football for Oregon State University. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Wheaton was born in Phoenix, Arizona. He attended Mountain Pointe High School, and played for the Mountain Pointe Pride high school football team from 2005-2007. He had 23 receptions for 476 yards and six touchdowns as a junior, and added 49 tackles on defense. Chandler High School, and played for the Chandler Wolves high school football team. He recorded 736 yards receiving on 37 receptions with four touchdowns as a senior. He was a three-time first-team all-region and honorable mention all-state selection. Considered a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, he was rated the No. 41 athlete in the nation. He committed to Oregon State.
Wheaton was also a standout sprinter for the Chandler High School track team. He won both the 200-meter dash (21.42s) and 400-meter dash (47.38s) at the 2009 Chandler Invitationals. He also ran a season-best time of 10.81 seconds in the 100 meters at the 2009 5AI State Championships.
While attending Oregon State University, Wheaton played for the Oregon State Beavers football team from 2009 to 2012. As a senior in 2012, he was a first-team All-Pac-12 Conference selection. During his college career, he recorded 227 receptions for 2,994 yards and 16 touchdowns.
He was also on the Oregon State University track team. He ran a career-best time of 46.80 seconds in the 400 meters at the prelims of the 5A Fiesta Regional Championships. He finished 2nd in the 100 meters at the 2012 Oregon Twilight Meet, with a time of 10.58 seconds. He was also timed at 10.35 seconds in the 100 meters.
|Ht||Wt||Arm length||Hand size||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 11 in||189 lb||32 3/4 in||9 1/8 in||4.45 s||1.59 s||2.50 s||4.02 s||6.80 s||37 in||10 ft 0 in||20 reps|
|All values from the NFL Combine and Central Florida Pro Day.|
The Pittsburgh Steelers picked Wheaton in the 3rd round, with the 79th overall pick, of the 2013 NFL Draft. He signed a 4-year contract for $2.81 million with $591k guaranteed.
Wheaton made his NFL debut on September 8, 2013 against the Tennessee Titans. On September 29, 2013, Wheaton made his first career start and made 3 catches for 26-yards in a 27-34 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. During a Week 11 matchup with the Detroit Lions, he made a season-high 3 receptions for 38-yards. He finished his rookie season with 6 catches for 64 yards in 12 games and 1 start.
During the 2014 offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to the Denver Broncos via free agency. With the loss of Sanders, Wheaton was given a larger role.
On September 7, 2014, he started the season opener against the Cleveland Browns and ended the game with a season-high 6 receptions and 97-yards. In Week 8, Wheaton made 5 catches for 56-yards and caught his first career touchdown in a 51-34 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The next game, he caught 2 passes for 62 receiving yards and scored a 47-yard touchdown in a win over the Baltimore Ravens. He played in his first career postseason game on January 3, 2015, and made 5 receptions for 66-yards in a 17-30 loss to the Ravens. He finished his second season with 53 receptions, 644 receiving yards, and 2 touchdowns in 11 starts and 16 games.
Wheaton began appearing more in the slot position as Martavis Bryant emerged last season. With Bryant becoming more solidified, Wheaton was poised to become a full-time receiver during 2015. Wheaton began the season starting against the New England Patriots and caught 3 passes for 55-yards in a 21-28 loss. On October 12, 2015, he caught a 72-yard touchdown pass in a 24-20 victory at the San Diego Chargers. During a Week 12 loss at Seattle, Wheaton made a career-high 9 catches for 201-yards and scores on a 69-yard touchdown. On December 20, 2015, he continued to make progress as he made 6 receptions for 62-yards and a touchdown in a 34-27 victory over the Denver Broncos. Wheaton finished the 2015 regular season with 44 receptions for 749 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Wheaton played in three games in 2016 with two starts recording four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown before suffering a shoulder injury. He was placed on injured reserve on November 19, 2016.
Wheaton's cousin Kenny Wheaton played for the Dallas Cowboys.