Pac-10 and SEC Pursue Marsh

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian's Cassius Marsh, the #5-ranked defensive tackle in the country, says he has a list of five favorite college programs, and the five come from both the Pac-10 and the SEC...


Cassius Marsh, the 6-foot-4, 290-pound four-star defensive tackle from Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, Calif., finished his junior season with 55 total tackles, 33 solos, 16 sacks and two fumbles caused.

"I play fast and with a lot of speed," Marsh said. "I go hard the whole time and I'm very intense.

"I'm working hard on my pass rush and getting better at it for the next level," he said. "I'm trying to improve my footwork and get my hand technique down."

He says he can bench 330-pounds, squat 450 and has a 30-inch vertical jump.

Scout.com's No. 5 defensive tackle nationwide says he now has 11 scholarship offers and favors California, USC and LSU over UCLA and Tennessee. All of his favorites have offered as well as Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Washington, BYU and Nebraska.

He already attended the Cal camp and plans on visiting LSU and Tennessee during the summer as well.

"I love the SEC," Marsh said. "It's an amazing league and some of the best players have come out of there. I really think that the SEC and Pac-10 has the best competition around."

Besides the conference in general, Marsh says he also likes the Tennessee coaches. "They have an amazing staff," he said. "Guys like (recruiting coordinator/defensive line) coach Ed Orgeron, (head) coach Lane Kiffin, (defensive coordinator) coach Monte Kiffin, (assistant coach/tight ends) coach James Cregg. They're all amazing.

"They're really getting Tennessee back on the map," he said. "I think they'll be big-time over the next few years.

"LSU is a big-time program too," Marsh said. "They constantly have good defensive backs and are known for their defense. They must be doing something right.

"I also have some family in Louisiana," he said. "So I probably wouldn't get too home sick if I went there."

With offers from all over the country, will distance be a factor for Marsh? "Comfort is the big thing for me," he said. "If I'm the most comfortable far away then that's fine. If I don't feel welcome or if I can't see myself living there for four years I won't go.

"All the schools I'm looking at have great programs," he said. "They are all very good schools with great coaches, so it's gonna come down to the people and the atmosphere and how I feel there."

But Marsh admits he has some criteria regarding his surroundings. "I'd like to be in a nice area with stuff to do," he said. "Our high school is pretty small and it can be a little boring, so I'd like to go to a big school."

Marsh has already visited Cal, USC and UCLA and says his mom's favorite is Cal. "She loves the coaches and how family-oriented they are," he said.

"I love the campus at Cal," he said. "It's a cool place."

He says the Bears coaching staff also stood out. "(Defensive line) coach Tosh Lupoi is a good guy," Marsh said. "I talk to him a lot and we have a close relationship. I feel like they'll always be straight with me. They are probably my favorite coaches right now. I'm really close with them."

The Bears are also looking for a replacement for their All-America defensive lineman Tyson Alualu. "He's leaving and they said they would play me as a defensive end as a freshman," he said. "They said they have no interest in redshirting me."

Another program where Marsh feels he'd be able to make an early impact at is UCLA. "There's a great opportunity for me to start there," he said. "They don't have much depth at d-line and I think they are a team on the rise.

"I can definitely see them doing some big things," he said. "And it just seems like the best opportunity to start."

Cross-town rival USC also needs defensive tackles. "They are pretty low at d-tackles," Marsh said. "I know they are looking to add depth and they said I'd be able to compete early too. I was the first defensive tackle they offered and the only one from California so far."

"The USC football program is crazy," he said. "They are always putting out top draft picks and have an amazing defense every year. That's what they've become known for.

"Plus, they are in my backyard, like UCLA," he said. "The campus is nice and even though the surrounding area is iffy, that's not a big deal. I like Los Angeles."

Marsh says that early playing time will be a major factor. "My goal is to make the freshman All-America team," he said.

"I'd like to take a couple of officials during the season and decide towards the end of the year," he said.

Marsh says he grew up following Ohio State but has no interest in being a Buckeye now. "I liked them a lot when I was a kid," he said. "They were always good and my brother liked them too, so we would watch them together."

He plans on majoring in business and reports a 2.6 core GPA and took the SAT on June 6.


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