Spring football may have been the precursor to contributing role for Lawrence Marshall next fall. The redshirt freshman defensive end was singled out by the Wolverine coaches as one of the young standouts during the five-week session. While some of that success can be attributed to his physical growth… (he is now 6-3, 245 lbs.)…. he also gives a great deal of credit to teammates that took him under their wings.
“I’m just trying to learn a lot from Biggs (James Ross), Mario (Mario Ojemudia), especially Mario, said Marshall. “He helped me out a lot. Him, Royce (Jenkins-Stone)… all of them have been like big brothers. Frank (Clark) taught me the ropes and now I’m just trying to showcase my skills.”
“It came way easier this year than my freshman year. I picked up a lot from Frank. Frank taught me the ropes. He was like a big brother to me, still a big brother to me. Just learned from him and try to do my thing on the field this year.”
The defense being installed by new defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin may make it easier for Marshall to do so. The Wolverines will vary alignments liberally, playing a healthy about of 4-3 and 3-4. When they shift to a 3-4 Marshall will man the “Buck” position and sometimes be asked to play standing up… an opportunity that he is looking a great deal forward to.
“I’ve got to drop back in coverage in some plays," Marshall explained. “I’ve played linebacker all my life and coming to Michigan, they knew I played linebacker coming up. They knew I could drop back in coverage. Now I feel like I can showcase my skills and I can pass rush, and I can drop back in coverage and cover the tight end or whoever is coming out of the backfield.”
Marshall wasn’t able to display those linebacking skills in Saturday’s spring game, but he did demonstrate his ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. The former Southfield standout registered a tackle for loss, a sack, and sometimes was a presence in the backfield even when he wasn’t responsible for making the play.
“I feel like I did good today,” he said proudly. “Coming in the first couple of practices I was a little shaky and finishing spring I feel like I improved a lot.”
“When I first came in here, it was a little shaky, I didn’t know the plays a lot, so now I learned the plays and now I’m playing a lot faster.”
“I’ve gotten a lot bigger, more physical, stronger, a lot faster. I improved my game a lot.”
Marshall’s internal drive to get better has always been strong, so it’s a pretty safe bet that his growth will continue over the summer
“Jabrill (Peppers) is my roommate, he’s always on my head, encouraging me to do my best. He brings the best out of everybody.”