When the McKinley High gang return to school this fall on Glee, it won't take Amber Riley's Mercedes too long to get over the exit of her one-time paramour Sam (Chord Overstreet). Turns out she's getting a brand-new boyfriend for season 3!
Friday Night Lights alum LaMarcus Tinker began work on the FOX series Wednesday, and will appear on the new episodes when they resume September 20. But just who is the 20-year-old actor who will mix and mingle with the McKinley High gang? Us Weekly uncovers five need-to-know details about Glee's new star.
1. He's well-versed in roaming the high school hallways. In addition to graduating as Salutatorian of his senior class at the High School For Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice in Texas, Tinker also appeared as high school footballer Dallas Tinker on DirecTV and NBC's Friday Night Lights. After FNL, Tinker appeared as Travis' college roomie on Cougar Town.
2. Tinker's character Marcus will do more than just serve as Mercedes' love interest. "[Mercedes] has this new boyfriend she met over the summer who's pretty cool," Glee's Brad Falchuk told reporters at a Comic-Con event, likening the duo's relationship to that of "Cuba Gooding Jr. and his wife in Jerry Maguire. He's this Big Bubba kind of guy and he encourages her to want more for herself. That drives her arc into the next half of the season."
3. The actor got his big break by accident. Scraping together $33.50 to take a Greyhound bus from Houston to Austin, Texas, to support two pals who scored gigs as FNL extras, Tinker happened upon the show's director Peter Berg and the rest was history. After chatting with the young talent, Berg put him in front of the lens. "It was 'camera's up, let's go,'" Tinker told The Houston Chronicle. "I did it, and he liked it. In the industry that's considered an upgrade. They usually pay you, and then you don't come back."
4. Should his role on Glee not pan out, Tinker has a background behind the cameras to fall on. The owner of LRT Productions, Tinker is set to release a film he produced, Down By the River, in 2012.
5. He has a heart of gold. Actively involved in a partnership with the Houston Boys and Girls clubs, Tinker believes in putting others first. "You have to help people who are younger than you, and then they'll lend a hand to someone else," he told the Chronicle. "After you die, it'll still be going on. That's my hope, because if the rest of this ended today, I'd still say I've enjoyed my life. My dreams already came true. That's the story."
Glee's third season premieres September 20.