Pikeville College Numbers: 6016/216 pounds/4.50-forty speed
2005 stats: 18-438-4 receiving/4-17-1 rushing/8-160-0 kick returns/46 tackles, 24 assists, 6 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 3-64-0 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles
The player: When I looked at my notes from the Las Vegas All-American Classic amongst all the mentions of Freddie Keiaho, I had written down Marsh, Pikeville and underlined it. Marsh didn't do much in the game (the only time I ever saw him play), other than look the part and prevent anyone from throwing near him with excellent coverage. Okay, he also scared Corey Bramlet out of his wits on one play when the athletic quarterback tucked and ran. Marsh wasn't fooled, cut off his coverage and barreled straight at the Wyoming passer, who made the wise move and headed for the sideline before Marsh could behead him. If you haven't heard the story about the former high school rush end who worked on a farm collecting chickens for slaughter, before he headed to tiny (850 undergrads) Pikeville College in Kentucky, it's worth reading and it's a good indicator of this guy's drive to succeed. When Marsh went back to college, he made sure he wasn't going back to the chicken farm.
Although the depth chart listed him as a free safety, Marsh played all over the field on defense, was a top kick returner and also the Bears' best deep threat on offense. If you're not impressed with his 20.0-yard average bringing back kicks as a senior, keep in mind that he went 8-427-2 as a junior — that's 53.38 yards a pop and a quarter of them came back for scores. I can't get those numbers on Madden 2K6. On defense, he's a big hitter with a wide receiver's hands and seems to understand zones well and have the necessary hip swivel to cover deep.
How he fits: Marsh will initially be given a chance to earn his keep on special teams as a returner or coverage man. Should he show NFL capability there, he'll get reps on defense, but they could come at almost any position. He's the size of many Colts linebacker prospects over the years, covers like a corner and has at least a little experience at every position short of nose tackle. Look for him to eventually settle in as a safety or corner, after coaches determine he'll fit best. And, if he makes the team, don't think Tom Moore won't want to get his hands on him, either. I know that it's a long way from the NAIA to the NFL, but I truly think Marsh is up to it. It takes a special player to make the jump and he certainly appears to have the brain and heart to do it.
Reminds me of: Nick Collins, Packers
Photo: Stephanie Stiltner/Pikesville College