Diamond in the rough no more. Justin Marshall might have been a hidden gem in the past. Even in the recent past. Not anymore and there is no going back.
Marshall (6-3, 195) may be from Conyers (GA) but over the past couple of days he has probably been giving a lot of thought to football programs and colleges in North Carolina.
He might not have a lot of time to devote to thinking about any one school and that is because every time it seems like there is a momentary pause in his busy schedule a new school pops up with an offer. That causes Marshall to start thinking about another school and then it happens all over again in a time consuming cycle.
On February 2nd Marshall's attention was captured by NC State. Scholarship offers have a way of doing that even when they aren't on paper yet. The offer signaled that State was ready to kick things up a notch in their pursuit of Marshall.
The very next day on Thursday the Pack's rival North Carolina offered as well. Word travels fast. Marshall is up to 14 offers and is bigger and better than most people probably would have imagined it would be only weeks ago. No one close to Marshall has ever doubted his talent but there is always that element of the unknown until a player finally starts to see the actual fruit of his work and the offer list starts growing. That's where Marshall is at and that means everything is becoming real.
Is there a risk that NC State could get lost in the shuffle or put on pause as Marshall waits for even more offers to come his way? That does not seem to be an approach Marshall is likely to take. Some of the schools offering Marshall now are just making an attempt to get to know him. Not State.
"I've actually been to NC State. I was there on the Saturday that just passed on the 27th. I had talked to them previous to that for about a week before I took the unofficial visit up there. Then I went up there for the Junior Day and I guess they were impressed because they offered. That's good because I was impressed also."
Marshall was not offered while he was on campus. The coaches were busy with a large number of recruits and even though they were able to make sure Marshall had a good time they also were not able to single out any one player for all of their attention.
There is no doubt that State was impressed with Marshall in person because the coaches offered him only four days after he left the school. With the visit just passed and the memory of everything Marshall saw fresh in his mind the offer made his day.
"That visit really changed my perspective on schools being labeled a basketball school or a football school. At NC State they showed me that it's an all around athletic school and not just one or the other. I learned a lot about that on that visit. I saw that they have good teams in both sports and they have a good program overall."
One thing the coaches were impressed with was Marshall's build. Right when he got to State he checked in and allowed the coaches to measure his height and weight. Marshall is seen as a receiver who presents a big target and one who can make plays down the field.
Marshall in turn was impressed by the organization of the Junior Day and how the coaches made sure to show a little bit of every side of NC State. Facility tours, walking different parts of the campus, learning about academic majors, listening to the coaches talk about their goals for 2017 recruiting, trying on jerseys, listening to players talk about their experience as recruits and how it matched up with what they have seen since. Those were just some of the things standing out to Marshall about the visit a few days after he made it back to Georgia.
" I talked to the receivers coach and he seemed like a good coach. I talked to Coach Des Kitchings and he told me they're impressed with the way I use my size. He likes my size, my speed and my hands."
Marshall's father, uncle and cousin accompanied him on the road trip and all have been pleased that their time and travel was rewarded after the fact with a new offer. One of many new offers. Now that Marshall and those family members have made the drive from Conyers to Raleigh he said he is comfortable with the distance and does not think six hours on the road is too much of a burden or inconvenience.
He has good things to say about a lot of other schools he has visited too though. During last football season Marshall went to Clemson, Duke and Georgia Tech. He went to Western Kentucky in the past too.
Marshall is happy to admit that Clemson is his dream school. He also said the school he may like the most out of all of those that have offered is Maryland. His mind is not made up and he is open to changing that around but Marshall likes Stefon Diggs and the Terrapins style of play.