With USF All-American George Selvie injured for the Bulls match-up against NC State, sophomore defense end Craig Marshall got his first start as a Bull, and made the most of his opportunity. Marshall crushed Beck on one play got the sack, for a big loss, and also had an interception, the first of his USF career. It was the kind of game Bulls fans envisioned from Marshall when he first committed in 2006, it just took a bit longer
"I've been waiting for this for two years while I was at Pearl River. It felt really good to have a big game and show the coaches what I can do."
The former 3-star prospect from Choctawhatchee originally committed to the Bulls as part of the '06 class but didn't qualify and enrolled in Pearl River CC before joining the Bulls this past spring.
"Coach Leavitt kept his word to me, and I kept my word with him, and I'm here."
When he first arrived on campus, Marshall realized the difference between playing at Pearl River and playing for USF.
"Pearl River was kind of like high school still, but this is a whole other level completely. Work outs were very hard, running and trying to keep up with everybody that's been here. It was a big difference"
Since his arrival, Marshall has spent the majority of his time training, and learning next to Selvie and the other Bulls and it's paid off.
"I got a lot stronger since I first arrived. I've gone up in bench, squat, everything, and I got faster. I ran a 4.5 in the spring and that's a bit faster than the 4.6 I ran at Pearl."
Marshall's emergence wasn't expected as he came in this class with another highly touted JUCO transfer defensive end, David Bedford, who arrived late in the summer.
"We both came in as junior college transfers. We're about the same height and the same weight. He's my roommate now, they put us in together, and we're good friends now."
The defensive line doesn't have the stats it had last year, but has been stout against the run and steadily applying pressure and getting better each week.
"We're really starting to come together now. Once everybody gets healthy we'll be very good."
With Selvie hobbled for the game against NC State Coach Burnham informed Marshall that he would get a lot more playing time.
"I felt real good that I was finally going to get a chance to show what I could do when given the opportunity. So the coaches can put their trust in me for games down the line, especially now that we're getting ready to start the Big East games."
Marshall made the most of his chances and crushed Beck on one play got the sack, and forced a fumble that resulted in a big loss, but won't take all the credit for the play.
"I got to give props to my teammates, without them a lot of stuff wouldn't have happened. My brother Keith McCaskill applied pressure and made the QB step up. I came around, saw an opening and took it."
On a another series Marshall was on the receiving end of a Beck interception, his first as a Bull, his second of his career, and said it was like a gift.
"I was just rushing and I happen to look up, see the ball, and just stuck my hands out and it fell right in there to me. It was nice."
It's no shock that Marshall is making plays, he was a force on the D-line at Pearl finishing with 41 tackles, 4.5 TFL's, 3.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and an interception during his freshmen year. In limited play this year, Marshall has been very productive recording 3.5 tackles for a loss, 9 total tackles, 1 sack, an interception, a forced fumble, and a pass break-up.
"I just go out and try to perform to the best of my ability every week, and you got to get in there and make the most of your opportunities. Whatever they throw at me, I'll have to react to it."
With Selvie's injury keeping him limited in practice and availability unknown, Marshall is getting a lot of reps in preparations for Pitt, but said the team is prepared.
"We all practice all positions on the line. That way if guys are hurting like they are now, the can rotate us in when they need to."
The Bulls are going to need the depth, because when they face Pitt this Thursday, they'll have the task of containing their star back, LeSean McCoy.
"He's a good back, but we're going to play how we play defense. They're a very good team and it's going to be a fight."
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