Salem (Conyers, Ga.) receiver Justin Marshall literally broke down and cried. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder had a whirlwind afternoon Feb. 24, landing four scholarship offers in the span of a couple hours. The three-star went from about a half-dozen early verbals to double-digits just like that.
“God has blessed me in so many ways,” said Marshall, who now has scholarships from Maryland, WVU, USF, Louisville, Cincinnati, Middle Tennessee, Presbyterian, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, Georgia Southern and Charlotte. “Looking back to last year, I was stressing out, wondering when I was going to get that first offer. I was overthinking things and wondering when it was going to happen for me. Then I got that first one from Charlotte, and then all the pieces of the puzzle started falling into place. And then to get four in one day? Man, it’s just a blessing. I couldn’t handle it. My mind was blown.”
The Terps, with UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty running point, anted up early in the day Feb. 24. Marshall said he had a message from Beatty and called him after school ended that day.
“Coach Beatty was talking to me a little on Twitter, and he told me to give him a call. And when I did and he said he wanted to offer me, I was very, very excited,” Marshall said. “But Coach Beatty, he just told me to stay humble and to keep my head. He said to keep working and we’d be in touch. [Beatty] said he was very impressed with my all-around game, and then said that Maryland would help me become a better young man and a better student-athlete.
“And I told Coach Beatty that sounded great and I couldn’t wait to visit.”
Beatty’s words were certainly appreciated, but they may not have been the main reason Marshall was ecstatic. Apparently Maryland was an offer he had been looking for for quite awhile.
“Maryland is actually my second dream school, next to Clemson,” Marshall said. “Maryland has just always caught my eye. First off, the uniforms. Growing up, I just always tuned into Maryland because I loved the uniforms and Under Armour so much.
“But the main reason I love Maryland is Stefon Diggs. I watched him from a freshman all the way up until he got drafted [by the Vikings]. I saw him develop, become a better route runner, become a better receiver and just make big play after big play. I saw all the highlights on SportsCenter and things like that. So I just always thought about being at Maryland and making plays like him.”
Now, Marshall wants to see College Park, Md., firsthand to gain more insight into the program. He hasn’t set up a date yet, but will be talking with Beatty to schedule a time.
“Maryland is definitely a trip I want to take,” Marshall said. “Of all the offers I have right now, I’d say Maryland stands out. That’s my No. 1 right now. Even if like a major SEC school offered, I wouldn't think any differently of Maryland.”
Of course, Marshall does have interest in his other suitors as well, and will give each an opportunity to win him over. He said West Virginia stood out because of alum Tavon Austin and his success in Morgantown, W.Va. Marshall praised Cincinnati for its coaching staff and its longstanding relationship with him. Same goes for Georgia Southern, whose coaches have been in contact for awhile now.
Plus, there are plenty of programs about to enter the fray. Marshall said he’s procuring interest from Georgia, UNC, NC State, South Carolina, Tulane and Duke (he’s waiting on Clemson). The wideout will be at Georgia Feb. 26, NC State Feb. 27, South Carolina March 12 and Tulane April 2. After that, he’s looking to hit Clemson and Maryland sometime in April. He previously visited Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Georgia, UNC and Clemson.
“I’m in the process of setting dates with my parents, taking visits and just exploring,” said Marshall, who insisted he has no preference for a particular conference. “Right now, I have no idea when I’m going to decide on a college. One thing I do know, though, is my parents will have a big impact on my decision. We talk everything over and will decide as a family.”