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Ohio State football’s Jalin Marshall could make early splash

It’s not necessary for opponents to have a Denard Robinson-like shoelace deficiency for incoming Ohio State freshman Jalin Marshall to juke them out of their shoes.
Marshall – from the same high school (Middletown High School in Middletown, Ohio) as former Buckeye Cris Carter – is heralded for his ability to make defenders miss and get to the end zone. He was rated a five-star wide receiver by Scout.com and ranked as the 49th best player nationally in the 2013 class by ESPN.
OSU football coach Urban Meyer has described Marshall as “one of the finest players in the country.”
When asked what makes Marshall an exceptional player, Meyer replied without hesitation, “Everything.”
With a versatility that allows him to line up in the backfield as a running back or on the outside as a wide receiver, he has been repeatedly compared by recruiting experts to Percy Harvin – an NFL 2009 Offensive Rookie of the Year and former player of Meyer’s at the University of Florida.
As a dynamic jack-of-all-trades player, Meyer seemed to tailor his playbook at Florida to incorporate Harvin.
The comparison could be a foreshadowing of great things to come for Marshall and the Ohio State program. Meyer used Harvin’s skill-set to help lead the Gators to two BCS National Championship victories, in 2006 and 2008, where he even occasionally used him in the quarterback position. Marshall, a standout dual-threat quarterback in high school, might give the coach déjà vu.
However, not everyone is seeing the resemblance. Marshall’s high school coach, Troy Everhart, isn’t satisfied with the comparison to Harvin. He believes Marshall sets himself apart from Harvin, who reportedly had attitude issues throughout his career, by how he carries himself even when he’s not carrying the ball – with character.
He attributes much of it to the family standing behind the football player.
“He’s a great kid. Raised right. Great family. Humble,” Everhart said. “The recruiting process would be a lot easier for everyone if everyone had parents like Marshall’s. They didn’t let it become a circus. They’ve made him a well-mannered, first-rate kid.”
Even with Marshall projected to be a slot receiver for the Buckeyes, Everhart prefers to liken him to NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.
Wilson became a household name last season during his rookie year when he exceeded expectations by earning the starting job and leading the Seattle Seahawks to the playoffs. He was also named the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year.
Despite the high ratings, undeniable athleticism, and offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Cincinnati and Tennessee, there was relatively little fanfare surrounding Marshall’s commitment to become a member of a recruiting class ranked in the top three nationally.
During an interview with ESPN, Meyer dispelled any notion that he was being overshadowed by fellow OSU recruits like Dontre Wilson and Vonn Bell.
“You know, he committed so long ago it was anti-climatic,” he said. “If he hadn’t, this would’ve been a national story because he’s that good of a player.”
Marshall is widely considered to be a favorite for early playing time.
“Jalin is one of those rare players that has a good chance to make a meteoric impact right away,” said Kevin Noon, managing editor of BuckeyeGrove.com.
Meyer had the same sentiment.
“He’ll be a leader of our team,” Meyer said. “I think he’s going to be a leader early in his career here and he’s a guy you can count on.”
As Everhart noted, expectations of leadership early on from Marshall are an indication that he’ll be on the field early and often.
“It’s hard to lead if you’re not the bell cow; he’s got to play to lead by example,” Everhart said. “He’s already a great leader, and he’ll only get better as he touches the ball more.”
Everhart made it clear Marshall will lead with his on-field play as well.
“The kid is electric,” Everhart said. “I mean, every time he touches the ball there’s an outstanding chance it’s going all the way. I wanted him to touch the ball as often as possible. When he played for me, it’s almost shameful but I wanted him to have the ball half the game.”
 

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