Thursday, April 3, 2014
Getting to know Iman Marshall
By Erik McKinney
Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.
Iman Marshall is already one of the most well-known and sought-after recruits in the West region, but don't expect to hear that name much between now and signing day.
Around the Long Beach (Calif.) Poly campus and the entirety of Southern California, Marshall is simply referred to as "Biggie."
"It goes all the way back to when I was a baby, from my mom," Marshall said. "I guess I was a chubby little baby."
Known as 'Biggie', ESPN Junior 300 cornerback Iman Marshall makes a large impact on the field.
The name stuck among his family and eventually made it way to friends as Marshall grew. Now it's used by just about everybody, and it helps that it's a near-perfect description of the way Marshall carries himself on the football field and the way he plays the game.
Checking in at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Marshall goes toe-to-toe with opposing receivers and was even called upon to shut down some prolific tight ends during the 2013 season. He is the nation's No. 41 overall prospect and the No. 4 cornerback.
Marshall quickly shoots down the idea that the nickname has anything to do with his athletic exploits or adds any pressure as he walks the path from high school standout to top national recruit.
"The nickname is just a nickname," Marshall said. "I just go out there and compete every day, which is something that's been instilled by my parents."
It's the second year in a row that Poly will produce a national recruit who goes primarily by a nickname. Juju Smith signed with USC in February after receiving offers from a host of prolific programs. Marshall said he appreciates his time with Smith last year, watching the senior go through the recruiting process.
"It was a great learning experience to see him personally on an everyday basis and how he handled the pressures of everything, from the program, to being in the Long Beach community," Marshall said of Smith. "He stayed calm and just played his heart out. It was amazing seeing that, him being so composed. I really appreciate having had a chance to be under his wing, see how to handle the recruiting thing, from Day 1 to 365."
Smith made a signing day decision and Marshall will do the same this year. While the local programs received something of a head start in the process, Marshall said he plans to play everything close to the vest and do as much research as possible about every school recruiting him. Marshall and his father will visit California and Stanford during his spring break, and will likely take a trip to visit a number of SEC schools this summer -- with Georgia, Florida, LSU and Tennessee as possible visit destinations.
However the recruiting process plays out for Marshall, it's safe to say that his addition to any program will be big.
About his recruitment: Marshall is one of the most heavily recruited prospects in California, holding offers from national powers such as Florida, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and Wisconsin. He is also a priority for local programs UCLA and USC. The big cornerback will take his time with the process, taking some unofficial visits this summer and using all five of his official visits before announcing his commitment on signing day.
Scouting profile: Simply stated, Marshall is a very good football player. With an excellent combination of size, athleticism and savvy, he is a versatile player with the physical tools to help a program in multiple ways. His versatility could be seen at the LA NFTC, when halfway through the camp the projected CB switched over to offense and worked with the receivers. With good ball skills the talented ESPN Junior 300 prospect performed well, but his greatest impact can come on defense. Marshall possesses nice size with good height and a well-built frame and can bring a physical presence to the CB position with the ability to press and match-up with today’s bigger college receivers. Going through drills at the Los Angeles NFTC as well on film, Marshall displays quick feet and sharp footwork as well as good speed. Built like a safety with the athleticism to excel at corner, Marshall has the tools to be a valuable scheme versatile DB as well as an excellent special teams player at the college level. -- Craig Haubert
Handicapping the race: The race for Marshall looks to be wide open at this point, although UCLA and USC must like the positions they are in considering their proximity to Marshall and the number of times he's visited both programs. But a true sense of the top schools likely won't emerge until Marshall takes his trips, and SEC schools could become a real factor this summer.