December 5, 2011
What Marshall Means
Tuesday, at 2:45pm, Millbrook (N.C.) running back Keith Marshall will make a decision on where he will play football at the next level. Many believe it is a two-team race between Georgia and Clemson, but Marshall also took official visits to Florida, Notre Dame, and South Carolina.
It has been no secret that Marshall loves UGA. They were his favorite team growing up, and he has always admired former Georgia Heisman winner Herschel Walker. Georgia has been working on Marshall for almost two years now, and he has developed a very close relationship with Mark Richt and running backs coach Bryan McClendon.
Clemson has made a late push for Marshall and the Tigers are a bit closer to home for the North Carolina native. Marshall bonded with Clemson's star freshman, Sammy Watkins, and was really blown away by his visit to Death Valley.
Georgia is the clear favorite for Marshall, but his decision on Tuesday will have an enormous impact on the rest of UGA's 2012 recruiting class.
Marshall's Skill Set
At this point in his growth, Marshall is still a fairly thin running back. He has put on some muscle mass, but is still a bit smaller than he would like. He has elite speed and has the ability to make cuts without losing speed. He has a special ability to change direction and accelerate.
One of Marshall's most valuable assets is his ability to win in space. If players want to break down on him and not allow him to make them miss, he will beat them with his speed. If they want to attack him, then he will beat them with his elusiveness. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield well, and does a great job of using his hands to catch the ball away from his body.
His only weakness at this point is size and strength. At 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, Marshall will need to bulk up to about 210 pounds to take any sort of pounding in the SEC. He also needs to work on his lower body strength to improve his ability to drive through tacklers and pick up tough yardage.
If Marshall Does Not Choose the Bulldogs
If Marshall does not choose Georgia, the Bulldogs will likely be in "scramble mode" in trying to offer and prioritize a new target at running back. At the moment, Tarboro (N.C) running back Todd Gurley is the only other running back that the Bulldogs are seriously considering. Gurley, who is good friends with Marshall, has been thought to be a UGA lean for quite sometime.
Should Marshall shock the masses and pick someone other than Georgia, then the Bulldogs would likely turn to Stephenson standout Mike Davis. Davis decommitted from Florida Sunday, but has not been contacted by the Bulldogs as of yet. He has gone on the record as saying that UGA has not recruited him very hard in the past, but he would likely be the first to get a call if the Bulldogs miss on Marshall or Gurley.
Marshall's Impact on the Field
If Marshall suits up for UGA next fall, he will be a valuable weapon for the offense and possibly special teams. Marshall has the type of speed that isn't commonly seen, and his ability to accelerate and make plays in space is special.
As an early enrollee, he will have an opportunity to learn the offense, put on the necessary weight and add the strength to compete in the SEC.
He won't be an every down back as a freshman, but he will bring more big play potential to the Georgia offense. His presence will force defenses to defend sideline to sideline and he will be as effective as a decoy as he will be as a ball carrier.
Marshall could also be a big time threat as a return man for Georgia's special teams unit. With their primary kick and punt returner, Brandon Boykin, exhausting his eligibility this fall, Marshall has the play making ability to fill both roll for the Bulldogs if they so choose.
Marshall's recruitment has been far from quiet. Rumors have been going around since he started taking visits. It was rumored that he was going to commit to Oregon at one point, and a rumor that he had decided to play for Florida came soon after.
The one thing that has held true through the entire process is that Georgia is at or near the top for Marshall's signature. It is our belief at UGASports.com that the Bulldogs have never trailed anyone for his signature and the Bulldogs will get commitment number 15 from Keith Marshall on Tuesday.
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