Marshall "locked in" with Kansas

In one respect, Miami Dade Christian quarterback Bilal Marshall was like a lot of prospects who visit the University of Kansas - heck, the state of Kansas - for the first time.

When he pictured Lawrence, Kan., he was thinking it would be...well...flat. 'Amber waves of grain' and all that.

"I was shocked," Marshall said, laughing. "Big time. I was not expecting all these hills. I was expecting flat land. It was a beautiful place. The trees, the campus - it was just a great place."

Now consider that the campus itself may actually be a few rungs down the ladder on the list of things he likes about Kansas, and the verbal pledge he gave Head Coach Turner Gill and the Jayhawks on Wednesday morning is easily understood.

Marshall - a 6-foot-2, 170-pound quarterback from Miami Dade Christian High School - has long been on the Kansas radar, and under the recruiting purview of assistant coach Robert Wimberly.

In fact, his relationship with Wimberly was ultimately one of the Kansas staff's strongest selling points in their recruitment of him.

"The number one thing is, he is from here," Marshall said, of the young Kansas safeties coach. "He's from where I am. Where he grew up is probably 10 minutes from where I grew up. He understands where I'm coming from, he understands a lot about me, and that's why we're able to have such a great friendship."

However, his admiration for the Kansas program wasn't limited to a single member of the coaching staff.

"Turner Gill, great man," he said. "Robert Wimberly, we built a great relationship. Chuck Long, a great quarterbacks coach. It's just the perfect fit for me athletically and academically."

In Marshall, the Jayhawks gain a seriously dynamic talent at the quarterback position capable of doing damage through the air and on the ground. As a junior in 2010, in one of the most talent-rich areas of the country, he threw for 1,358 yards, ran for another 971 and totaled 22 touchdowns.

That dynamism is his biggest strength, Marshall said, and the possibilities he sees for himself within the Kansas offensive system are exciting.

And while he feels he has the ability to come in and compete for the starting job right away in 2012, he's actually hoping to take a more measured approach to the start of his career as a collegiate athlete.

"I think I can go in there and compete with anybody right now if I wanted to," Marshall said. "But in all likelihood I'm going to ask Coach Gill to come in and redshirt for a year, get stronger, and come back the next year and be a four-year starter."

Though he ultimately chose Kansas from a final four that also included Duke, Purdue and Wake Forest, his list of suitors is much longer – with a total of 10 scholarship offers on the table.

Other programs will almost assuredly continue to pursue him, but Marshall made it clear he's all Jayhawk.

"I'm locked in," he said. "I'm locked in. I know that schools are still going to be trying to pursue me, but I'm just going to have to be a man about it and let them know I'm a Jayhawk."


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