Commentary

Keith Marshall is 'the total package'

ESPNU 150 Watch List running back puts up big numbers, on and off the field

Originally Published: February 16, 2011
By Jamie Newberg | ESPN Recruiting

There aren't too many prospects who carry a weighted grade point average of 4.3 and run that number in the 40-yard dash, but ESPNU 150 Watch List RB Keith Marshall fits the bill.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder from Millbrook High School in Raleigh, N.C., is only 16 years old and already has close to 20 scholarship offers, including Duke, North Carolina, Georgia, USC, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, NC State, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Florida.

[+] EnlargeKeith Marshall
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comKeith Marshall has visited Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson, Duke and NC State.

"UNC was the first school to offer, after my fourth game of my sophomore season," Marshall said. "It was very exciting because when they invited me to a game the last thing I was expecting was to get an offer that early. There are some schools that are beginning to stick out, but I'm still looking at most of the schools that have offered."

Last season, as a junior, Marshall rushed for over 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns.

"Keith is without a doubt one of best backs in the country," said Millbrook coach Clarence Inscore. "There are not too many better. What separates him from everyone else is his work ethic on the field, in the classroom, and during the offseason. He always wants that edge. Keith has this internal drive and wants to be the best. Keith is just a great competitor that makes others better around him."

While Marshall was timed at 4.25 in the 40 at UNC's camp, he also runs with power, balance and vision -- which is a big reason he has already been named to the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game.

"I'm honored to be one of the few players invited to the Under Armour All-America Game and I look forward to competing with some of the best high school players in America," said Marshall.

"He's the fastest player I have ever coached," said Inscore. "I mean he can run over you, by you or around you. He has great feet and makes great cuts and moves. He's the total package. He has great instincts and feel for the position."

As good and competitve as Marshall is on the field, he is just as driven in the classroom, and playing on Sundays in the future isn't his only goal.

"I'm very competitive, so I don't like losing to anybody in anything. I work hard because I understand that I've been blessed with some athletic and academic abilities that not everyone has, so I try to make the most out of the opportunities I've been given," said Marshall. "My dream is to play in the NFL. I'd also like to run my own business and be a coach one day."

Marshall has already visited Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Clemson, Duke and NC State.

"When I go to the schools, I try to get a feel for how the coaches and the players interact," said Marshall. "Normally I meet with the coaches and talk to some people from academics. I also want to see how the players get along with each other and the different personalities of the coaches. I would also like to play as early as possible."

Marshall plans to graduate a semester early from high school and enroll in college for spring practice.

"I'm not sure when I'm going to make a decision but it would have to be before national signing day," said Marshall.

Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at jamienewbergbw@yahoo.com.