For those that missed part one, click here.
There is no shortage of suspense in Iman Marshall’s recruitment. That is largely a product of the talented youngster’s ongoing insistence that he is not a lock to USC. To some that is just a smokescreen being used to build up the magnitude of his signing day moment. Not true according to Marshall’s however. He says the motive for his son’s approach is much more straightforward. Simply put, they are determined to find the best choice… even if that means choosing a program whose coaches they might be less familiar with.
“We do have (longstanding) relationships with coaches, but that doesn’t mean anything anyway from their standpoint,” Mr. Marshall stated. “We’re both are looking at this from a detached standpoint and not an emotional standpoint. We’re taking all the emotions out of this. Sometimes knowing someone could also be a detriment also. You can get too comfortable with somebody. It has its pros and cons. (Distance) is being overblown a little bit. I can understand why that would be an issue, but for us that is overblown. It is not an issue. My son has been traveling across the country since he was 10 years old. He has been across the country, from Florida to Detroit, Arizona, Texas. He has been traveling since he was 10 years old, so traveling is not a problem for us.”
“Of course any time you have a relationship with somebody, that helps things. But again, I think people are putting too much emphasis on distance. For our choice that is very, very low on the totem. First and foremost if he left and went to the NFL, what happens if he gets drafted in Green Bay or Buffalo? You can’t control where you play your ball at, so that shouldn’t be an overriding factor. We’re not going to let distance stop us and experiencing a great opportunity. We’re not going to overlook a great opportunity because we’re afraid to cut the ties. We’re not going to do that. If Coach Harbaugh and his staff are the best ones to prepare my son for manhood and for the next level on and off the field, academically, as well as a football player, then that is where he’ll be.”
Another topic the elder Marshall feels is overblown is the USC fandom in his household. The younger Marshall has been adamant about his ability to compartmentalize from the onset of his recruitment. Dad says that’s exactly what he trained his son to do.
“It’s easy,” said Mr. Marshall regarding putting their affinity for USC to the side. “Unlike a lot of parents, we’ve been preparing for this since day one. What I tried to do as a father… and his mother has done the same thing… is try to stay as impartial as possible and not tilt his hand. I know how my son is. I lean one way, he’s going to lean that way also. But he is also a contrarian, which is kind of crazy. My favorite team is the Dallas Cowboys. He’s a contrarian sometimes so he’s going to make sure that he root for any team going up against the Dallas Cowboys because that’s what he does. That’s just how my son is. He just likes to stand on his own two feet. So the detachment thing is very easy. It is very, very easy because he always said this is about business. It is not about emotion. When we finish with this whole thing, after all the trips are done we’re going to sit down and we’re going to weigh the pros and cons. We’re going to look at what’s important to him and assign a numerical value to everything from distance, to education, to degree, to depth chart. That’s going to take all the emotion out of it. It’ll be a clear picture from there.”
That doesn’t mean the decision will be an easy one. Marshall fully expects arriving at a conclusion after his son returns from his final official visit to Oregon this weekend to be a time-consuming task. That’s why both mom and dad will be there to help him every step of the way.
“As a family we’re going to sit down and weigh the pros and cons of every situation and it should be clear,” said Mr. Marshall. “That’s the reason we’re taking these trips. It is a vetting process. We want to make sure that we have done exhaustive research of every program. Make sure that no stone is left unturned. This is life changing. What people don’t understand is that they just think this is just a guy just going on all these trips. We’re not approaching this from a vacation standpoint. It is a fact-finding mission for us. It is a business trip. All the other things… those are perks, but we going up there to research every program… to see how he fits in with the other kids that are on his team. Can he see himself being a teammate with those guys? Those are the things that we’re looking at. We’re going to the business office. We’re talking to the counselors. Those are the things we’re doing. We’re not taking this decision lightly at all. It’s going to change the rest of his life.
“This decision with change the rest of his life. So we’re not taking it lightly.”