Friday, June 1, 2012

the recruit: Brendan Marshall

Name: Brendan Marshall
Position: QB
Hometown: Gaithersburg, MD
School: Our Lady of Good Counsel
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 210

24/7: 83; three stars; #46 pro-style QB; MD #27
ESPN: 76; three stars; #29 pro-style QB; MD #14; Atlantic #70
Rivals: 5.6; three stars
Scout: three stars; #49 QB

Other offers: California

Bill Lazor likes to keep the quarterback cupboard very well stocked, and take at least one every recruiting cycle.  (Often two, as we've seen.)  That particular box was checked very early this year, and could've been checked even earlier if things had fallen into place faster.

With Mike Rocco pretty well entrenched and Greyson Lambert as part of the 2012 class (not to mention Matt Johns) the UVA quarterback situation wasn't really amenable to pulling in a top-level prospect this year.  The coaches went after the big three instate guys - Hackenberg, Burns, and Hodges - but the former two quickly committed out of state.  When the coaches started realizing that Bucky Hodges was going to VT, they went for their next target: Marshall.

"Whitey" Marshall comes to us from one of those places that you always want to have a presence: Good Counsel.  They were beyond a doubt the best team in the DC area last year and might be again this year.  Last year it was their offense that led them to success - or at least got all the credit for it.  Marshall was the new guy on the block (replacing previous starter Zach Dancel), and he had a ton of weapons at his disposal.  Teams tried to shut down his running game and see what kind of stuff he was made of, and he was up to the task.

Even so, Marshall didn't have to throw much for Good Counsel to win.  When he did, he impressed, but with guys like Wes Brown and Stefon Diggs around him, Marshall only needed to throw about 12 times a game, and didn't put up mindblowing stats as a result.  This year might be a better test of his abilities; Brown and Diggs are gone, and though he's got guys like Andre Levrone (another UVA commit) to replace them, the truth is that Good Counsel's offense doesn't have the eyepopping talent it used to.  (The defense is completely loaded, though, so I'll be surprised if they don't again go undefeated.)

Plainly enough, Marshall is a pocket passer.  He doesn't look the part of an athlete and given the lack of any mention of athleticism whatsoever in his ESPN scouting report, it's probably not present.  That report is full of praise for the technical aspects of Marshall's game: "takes pride in his drops, footwork and ability to freeze defenders," "very good at reading coverage," and so on.  He doesn't have the zing on his throws that causes scouts to reach into their pockets for that fourth star, but he can lay it in there beautifully.

Those scouts are pretty well in agreement as to Marshall's abilities, as it turns out.  ESPN appears higher on him than the others, but they're way behind the others in the number of prospects they've rated and there'll probably be some that move ahead of Marshall and place him right in line with the other services.   Had he not committed so soon - he dropped barely a month after Signing Day - he'd certainly have garnered a few more offers, mostly from teams who didn't get their first choice at QB.  As it is he really only got the Cal one, and depending on which source you read, maybe also Stanford and Syracuse.  (The Stanford one is not that likely unless it came a looong time ago - that's where Ryan Burns went.)

You know how the depth chart is in front of Marshall.  When he gets here next year he'll be in line behind all sorts of guys.  Mike Rocco will be a senior, Phillip Sims and probably David Watford a junior, and there'll hopefully be two redshirt freshmen as well.  ("Hopefully" because it would take either great catastrophe or great stupidity not to preserve the redshirts of Lambert and Johns.)  So Marshall might be the most galactic lock to take a redshirt that we've had in some time.

He'll still be one year behind Lambert and Johns, though, without a year of separation (which is why it was so hard to get any top-tier names.)  Looking three seasons into the future, Lambert is pretty likely to take over the starting job for a couple years, and if he doesn't, Matt Johns probably will.  And who knows who'll be signing in 2014 or 2015.  Marshall is going to have to absolutely fight tooth and claw to ever earn "the" starting job.  His technical proficiency will ensure he's always in the fight, and he could rise to top backup relatively quickly; whether he can ever take the next step and start some games probably depends on the health and learning curve of the competition.

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