Junior Profile - CJ Marsh

CJ Marsh is a 6-1, 190-pound athlete from Mill Creek (Wash.) Jackson, and much like teammate Craig Chambers, Marsh has family ties to the University of Washington. His father, Curt, graduated from Washington and was the number one draft pick of the Oakland Raiders in 1981.

"Dad is already all over me," CJ told Dawgman.com when talking about how he plans on spending his summer break. "He's been telling me that this is my summer, and I've already been lifting more than I ever have before. I'm going to be doing some yoga, for stretching. And I also will be working on my speed and quickness, trying to extend my stride."

Before you get the idea that Curt is one of those 'driven' dads, CJ quickly dismisses the thought. "He's not really that involved, other than helping me, Craig (Chambers) and Jason (Morris), giving us little tips and pointers when we need them," he said. "He tries to keep his distance. He doesn't want to be 'Mr. NFL'."

Marsh is an all-purpose performer for the Timberwolves, playing running back, receiver, defensive back and free safety. He has a 4.5 40 and a 35-inch vertical jump to his credit. "I can stop and go, cut," CJ said, when talking about the things that separate him from the pack out on the football field. "I can put my shoulder down when I need to but I feel I'm a quick runner. As a receiver, I like the wheel route a lot, try and make big plays every time I go out there. On defense, I don't do that much close to the line. I'm responsible for the deep third."

Marsh earned 2nd team All WesCo 4A honors for his work as a running back last season. That's an accomplishment, considering Chambers is the undisputed offensive threat for Jackson. CJ will be the main ballcarrier for Jackson this fall and feels he can compliment Craig to become the textbook definition of 'double trouble'.

"Coach (Joel) Vincent has already talked to me about getting more recognition in the offense, getting more passes, things like that," CJ said. "We'll see what he has in mind this fall."

It's no surprise to find that CJ has the same fire his father did when it comes to strapping the pads on. "I like to talk, get the guys fired up," he said. "I try to lead by example too, but I'm always fired up, always ready to play."

And his ambition is driving him along the same career path his Dad took. All Curt did was become a World Champion with the Oakland Raiders in 1983. But Curt's success story in the NFL had a bittersweet ending, as a lingering ankle injury forced the elder Marsh to have his foot and leg amputated in 1994. "I've thought about it and I certainly don't want to suffer like he has but when I talk to him about it he tells me that if he had to do it all over again he'd do the same thing," CJ said about the potential physical pitfalls of professional football. "He has no regrets about any of it. He just said that it's the price you pay sometimes for playing in the NFL. But t's my dream. That's what I want to do."

And it's a dream he's had from a very young age. "Every Christmas I would always get something from the Raiders, like something from Jerry Rice or Marcus Allen," he said. "But the thing I remember most was playing in a basketball tournament in the 7th grade. My Dad was talking on the phone and told me there was someone that wanted to talk to me. It was Bo Jackson! He wished me good luck in the tournament."

But first things first. Marsh needs to graduate from Jackson and then make his mark in college. Will it be Washington, or will he carve his own niche at another school? His Dad isn't pushing him in any direction so far.

"I know he would like to see me go there (Washington), but also just wants the best for me, wherever that might be," CJ said. "He knows everything about U-Dub and also has known Gilby (Keith Gilbertson) for a while, so that's nice. We got a chance to go to Junior Day, but got there late, after the tour. I would have liked to have seen the tour, but we got a chance to talk to Gilby."

The letters are coming. "I'm getting a lot of mail right now from Oregon and Arizona State, a couple of letters from U-Dub, Villanova, Syracuse, schools like that," said Marsh. "Mostly Pac-10, though."

CJ laid out his camping schedule this summer. "I want to go to the U-Dub camp and a bunch of us from school are going to the Oregon (Nike) camp in June," he said.

If things worked out for CJ, he already knows where he would like to go if given the opportunity. "I'd like to stay in the Pac-10, but whatever happens, happens," he said. "I want to go to the U-Dub. That would be the ultimate for me. I've been into them since I was young."

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