Tadarryl Marshall didn’t waste time going from a list of three favorites to a verbal declaration as the multidimensional athlete committed to Tennessee at a ceremony at his school’s auditorium Tuesday.
The 6-foot, 170-pounder gives the Big Orange nine commitments for the 2016 class.
"The recruiting process has been very challenging for the past 2 1/2 years of high school," Marshall said. "During my senior year I only want to think about my student things and especially my high school. "I would also like to thank my family, coaches and teammates for being with me throughout the whole process. Lastly, I would like to thank the coaches from every school that's offered me for giving me a chance. In conclusion, I've officially decided to further my studies and play in college at the University of Tennessee."
Marshall, a Scout three-star athlete, projects to play receiver but holds down quarterback duties at Leeds (Ala.) High School and will double up by playing safety this fall for the Green Wave.
“I like Tennessee,” Marshall said. “Tennessee has a very friendly, family environment. Anybody can come here. They treat everybody the same here.”
Contact with Tennessee coaches stayed consistent since the scholarship offer came earlier in 2015.
“Tennessee snagged one of Alabama's most versatile prospects on Tuesday in TaDarryl Marshall,” Scout regional analyst John Garcia Jr. said. “Not only did he lead the Leeds Green Wave to a state title in 2014, but he did it as both a passing and running quarterback. In the open field, it was easy to see why he is often projected to play on the edge of an offense or even on defense, as Scout tabs him as an athlete.”
Passing game coordinator Zach Azzanni, offensive coordinator Mike DeBord and defensive coordinator John Jancek have a relationship with the junior. Lining up on both sides of the ball is an option once he arrives in Knoxville.
“They want me to play both,” Marshall said. “Coach Azzanni wants me to play receiver. Coach DeBord wants me to play a little slot, a little punt return, a little kick return. Coach Jancek wants me back in the secondary, playing a little safety, a little DB.”
Marshall knew before visiting Rocky Top for the Orange & White game on Saturday where he wanted to take his talents. Nevertheless, the crowd at Neyland Stadium impressed.
“I think it was like 63-65,000,” said the No. 2-ranked athlete in the Heart of Dixie. “It was loud. I went to Auburn, and I think it was like 85,000 or something. I think they (Tennessee fans) were louder. It was crazy. It was fun.”
In Leeds’ season finale for the 2014 AHSAA Class 4A championship, Marshall ran for a net of 107 yards and passed for 98 more with a TD. It was the third championship for Leeds (2008, 2010, 2014).
“I still have a lot of stuff to work on,” Marshall said. “Hopefully in college they’ll help me with the stuff I need to know.”
In 2014, Marshall totaled 1,376 rushing yards, 1,252 passing yards and 23 total touchdowns.
“With good length at 6-foot, 175 pounds or so, one could place Marshall at several positions at the next level, including wide receiver and safety,” Garcia said. “However, given his decision-making, improved ball skill and savvy with the football in his hands, wide receiver makes the most sense if a position has to be selected.
“Marshall isn't a burner, but is fast enough to pull away from defenders. He really hurts defenses with his quick hips and ability to change direction in short spaces. Clearly he'll need some polish before he's ready to play any one position at the next level, but there's little doubt about the tools he has heading into a transition.”
Marshall said he plans to take all five officials “just to have fun really.” He will not enroll at Tennessee in January.