Introducing the 2004 Class Uriah Marshall

Having friends as teammates or playing close to family, are the usual factors that can ease a freshman's transition into college football. Cornerback Uriah Marshall is not only fortunate to have those dynamics working in his favor, but he also has the one single aspect that ultimately lured him to the Sun Devils - being coached by former high school coach and current ASU cornerbacks coach, Mark Carrier. Marshall talked about playing for Carrier and more in this exclusive DevilsDigest interview.

"I had amazing coaches at Brophy my senior year," said Uriah Marshall who was listed the No. 7 player in Arizona by SuperPrep Magazine. "Coach Carrier was one of those great coaches. He was giving me tips at practice all the time, and we always were breaking down film after practice. When my grades started to slip a little because I was concentrating on football so much, he would personally set up tutoring sessions for me, and show up to make sure I made it. It was just amazing, and I appreciated it."

One would think that the biggest lesson the corner learned from his All-Pro coach would be a pointer on a certain technique, or just a football related issue. In answering this question, Marshall who is academically qualified, replied without hesitation: "You can't play ball if you don't have the school work. That's what I learned from him the most. You know the guys that have ‘senior-itis'? Well, I had ‘junior-itis.' (smile)' My grades were slipping, and coach Carrier help me bring them up."

Marshall never hid his desire to continue and play under the tutelage of Carrier. His conversation with position coach a few weeks before he was actually hired, now seem nothing short than prophetic. "What's funny is that during our banquet," Marshall recalled, "which was right after my ASU trip, him and I were talking about the cornerbacks position coach because coach Ramsey left. I was saying ‘you should take that job. If you get the job, I'm definitely going to ASU.' Him going there made the decision a no-brainer."

Long before Carrier was a volunteer coach at Brophy, the corner was high on the Sun Devils' wish list. "Before my junior year I met with coach English at an ASU camp," remarked Marshall who was named first-team all-state by The Arizona Republic. "I never talked to any coaches before I talked to him. He was a very persuasive, and told me to think ASU. I guess they had a jump before any other college. Looking back that was one of the main reasons I came to ASU. I loved the respect coach Koetter and his staff showed me. That played a big role in my decision."

Aside from the Sun Devil coaching staff, some players did their part in enticing the corner to don the maroon and gold. "I know a lot about the school from Jason Shivers who's a very good friend of my brother," said Marshall who was named first-team all-defense by Phoenix Metro Football Magazine, "and Randy Hill who's my cousin. I also went to elementary school with Deandre Johnson and Robert James…Jason, as soon as he committed, was on me to come to ASU. He was constantly persuading me, and definitely persuaded me more than anyone else. My cousin Randy was laying out the pros and cons, but he always told me it was my decision." Marshall added that his family also showed a hands-off approach. "My parents were laid back and said they would be supportive no matter what. I really appreciated that. They kept me grounded, and took away some of the stress."

Despite the fact that the his parents were able to alleviate some of the recruiting anxiety, Marshall admitted that through out his long recruitment journey with the Sun Devils, some periods were more uneasy than others. "ASU was up and down," he recalled. "What I mean is that I was always looking at ASU, and I could always see myself playing there. But Coach English left, and then coach Ramsey…it was still a roller coaster. Looking back, I know that even if I committed earlier than I did it still would be stressful. But maybe you really can't look at it as stress. My hard work paid off, and I honestly can say that I deserve a scholarship. I know I'm blessed with ability, but I'll continue to work hard."

ASU was the first school to offer him a scholarship. While that was another reason for his signing with the hometown team, he did acknowledge that there were one or two other Pac-10 programs he was fond of. "I came real close to going to Washington," he said. "I would say that if coach Carrier got hired by Washington, I would probably go there. Cal was another school that I looked at a lot. I really liked the academics there, and my defensive coordinator knew one of the Cal coaches. When coach English went to Michigan he continued to recruit me. But that didn't last long. I couldn't see me playing there. I don't like the snow at all (smile). "

Some will say that coming from a family of 12 siblings, makes the decision to attend ASU should be a very easy one. "Not exactly (smile)," he stated. "I did have some brothers go to U of A and NAU, but some of my sisters went to schools back east. So, me and my brothers are definitely mama's boys and we stay in the state." Marshall signing with the Devils didn't only put a smile on the coaches' and fans' faces, but also on a certain area of the ASU Athletic Department. "The day I committed they (his parents) were calling the box office. They already have their season tickets, and my aunts and uncles have theirs too. We've been keeping the ticket office busy (smile)."

As a senior, Marshall collected 57 tackles and had four interceptions and a fumble recovery. The three-year starter has amassed 173 tackles and six interceptions through out his tenure at Brophy. "I'm physical and I'm a big hitter," he said of his skills. "I always played on defense, so I'm used to hitting. I played linebacker before I played corner. I always have that aggressive mentality. I do need to work on my footwork, and my hips. I also need to believe what I see, and react to it. That's something coach Carrier has helped me the most with."

Currently, Marshall is spending his days working out in the team's off-season conditioning program. Not only is he seeing the physical gains, but also the intangible benefits. "Without a doubt working out in the summer makes you feel like you're a part of the team," he said. "The unity on this team is amazing, and I felt it from day one. The players have made me feel so comfortable. In the beginning, the conditioning was tough. The players supported me all the time, and there's no better atmosphere than that. It makes it so much easier to work out. I don't feel like a freshman. Yeah, there's some teasing going on, but nothing like hazing."

In most years, the Pac-10 can usually boast about having the best quarterbacks and wide receivers in college football. The flip side of that argument is that playing cornerback in this conference can be an extremely thankless and frustrating job. Having said that, how would Marshall react when he will get burned for a big play? "Laugh it off and get ready for the next play (smile)," he replied. "That's what I say. The Pac-10 has proved that it has the best quarterbacks and wide receivers. It's the best conference to play in, and it will either make me or break me. If I'm the athlete I think I am, then I'll make it."

"Playing cornerback is probably the hardest position to play on the field besides quarterback," Marshall continued. "Your whole game can be summarized in one play. You can play great for three and half quarters, and that one play you give up in the fourth quarter can lose the game. That's how it is. All I know is that real men play corner (smile)."

Speaking of playing this position, does Marshall feel that he has a chance to make an impact as a true freshman? "I'm not sure," he said. "I'm just doing my job now working out. I'm not gonna stress about playing or redshirting. R.J. Oliver has taken me under his wing. Chris McKenzie, Josh Golden, and Chad Green are all helping me out. I'm not worried about playing time, I'm worried about being a player."

Landing an elite local player such as Marshall is another feather in the cap for ASU's recruiting. Nevertheless, the rewarding feelings of playing close to one's stomping grounds aren't exclusive to the Sun Devil coaches and the program followers. Marshall said that the local players, such as himself, enjoy having their college careers take place in their back yard. "I'm happy the best players in Arizona are playing for Arizona State," he exclaimed. "I take a lot of pride in that. Being a local kid, how can you say ‘no' to the local school? Especially a good school. I definitely take a lot of pride playing for the local school."

"Growing up here," Marshall continued, "you think about playing for ASU, and now you're here and you're a part of the team. ASU's is in the best conference in the country, and the only way it will get better, is if the best players in the state stay close to home and play here. I'm very happy with the situation I'm in. I would never trade it for the world."

Recruit Profile

Name

Uriah Marshall

High School

Brophy Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.)

Position

CB

Height

5-11

Weight

180

Date of Birth

1/20/86

Birthplace

Phoenix, AZ

Nickname

"I didn't have one."

Favorite TV Show

"Football games (smile). I'm not a big TV Fan."

Favorite Movie

"The Program."

Favorite Singer/Band

"Tupac."

Favorite Food

"Pizza."

Favorite Drink

"Raspberry Ice Tea."

Favorite Athlete

"Deion Sanders. Without a doubt (smile)."

Favorite Pro Team

"Dallas Cowboys."

Person you most admire

"My brother Johnny Marshall. I admire his work ethic and his will to be the best. He just graduated from Northern Arizona in electric engineering. I look up to him a lot."

First Football Memory

"I was 10 years old playing my first Pop Warner game."

One Thing most people don't know about me

"I have 12 brothers and sisters. I don't know how many people know that (smile)."

Why did you choose ASU?

"I was choosing between Washington and ASU, and when Coach Carrier got hired, that pushed it over the hill for me. "

Where do you want to be in ten years?

"In the NFL. If that doesn't work out, I'd like to be a real estate broker."

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