Originally posted on The Duck Stops Here  |  Last updated 11/17/11

Byron Marshall

5'10'', 200 lbs. | Class of 2012

    Hometown: San Jose, CA
    School: Valley Christian High School
    Position: Running Back
    Status: Verbally Committed Oregon  11/15/2011

Recruiting is a Yogi Berra world: it ain't over till it's over. Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans will get a painful reminder of that this Saturday when De'Anthony Thomas scorches them for a long touchdown. Just a few months ago Thomas was a Trojan lock until he dropped by in Eugene for breakfast.

Yesterday the Ducks got another welcome and unexpected surprise when Byron Marshall announced, earlier than expected, that he would pass up offers from Cal, ASU, Washington, Notre Dame, USC and 30 other schools to become an Oregon Duck.

photo right: Byron Marshall stiffarmed Cal and ASU to become a Duck, and fans will be delighted he did (bearinsider.com photo).

Marshall's a great fit for the Oregon system, powerful, shifty and fast. He can break ankles or bust tackles, and he's tremendous in the open field with excellent vision, balance and cutting ability. Duck Sports Authority's Tony DiFrancisco, a must-follow for Webfoot fans on Twitter for his timely information and impeccable sources, offered this quick assessment when the promising running back first announced:

"Some measurables on Oregon's new RB commit, Byron Marshall- 5'10, 200 lbs, 10.67 100M, 300+ bench, 510 squat, 485 dead lift, 255 Power Clean"

The strength numbers pop out immediately, uncommon for a high school offensive lineman, let alone a running back, a testimony to a remarkable focus and work ethic. Consider that 322-lb. Mark Asper, a 6-7, 322-lb, senior, led all Duck offensive linemen with a 500-lb squat last winter, and Ike Remington was tops among the d-linemen at 445.

Marshall has a tremendous athletic background. Mitch Stephens of maxpreps.com reports that the talented running back's  father, Greg Marshall is the trainer for San Clara University and the San Jose Sabercats. His mother Tammie is a track coach at Valley Christian, and brother Cameron is the star running back for Arizona State. Sister Dahylis runs the sprints and hurdles for the Arizona Wildcats. His parents were athletes and teammates in college. Marshall runs a 4.4 40, vertical jumps 33 inches and benches 325, natural athletic ability honed from a very young age, chasing after and competing with his older siblings and their friends.

 

The running style immediate suggests Kenjon Barner, but Marshall is already bigger and significantly stronger. He's very quick to the hole, patient in setting up blocks, and tremendously efficient in his cuts, upfield and full speed. He has the great vision and runs decisively, productive on every play.

The San Jose speedster darted for 1,632 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior. This season he missed two and a half games with an injured shoulder, but still managed 757 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns. He's a lethal return man with five career tds, also doubles as lockdown defensive back, and even serves as his team's punter in their opener, 5 punts for a 41.8-yard average.

Marshall told Greg Biggins of espn.com, “I’m very excited and relieved this is over. I've been thinking Oregon was the place for me for a few weeks now. I just feel like Oregon is a great fit for me in a lot of ways. I love the offense and the success they have had running the football. I think I fit in well with that offense, I’m a power guy that can also get outside and Oregon does a great job getting their players in space."

He's been selected for the Army All-American game, and he's a former Central Coast section champion in the 100 meters. On the field, Marshall has a reputation as a trash talker in the John Boyett/Rashard Bauman tradition, passionate and intense. He explained to Alex Pavlovic of the San Jose Mercury News,  "I'm not a bad guy. I have fun as I play ... referees are a little bit more strict with me than they are with other players, but I've put that on myself.

"I talk more than I should, (but) if I'm talking to someone I've got to back it up. It motivates me to play that much better."

The competitive fire cost him some painful lessons. Twice he was flagged for taunting during games, missing two playoff game with suspensions. Oregon running backs coach Gary Campbell, a master at counseling and developing players, will be challenge to channel that intensity.

To Stephens he said about the on-field chatter, "I'm kind of a natural at it. I like it. It's what I do. It's fun. I try to conquer my opponent mentally and then physically. Get them out of their game. It's really why I do it. To gain an advantage. But obviously at points the last two years it hasn't worked. I need to adjust."

Marshall is also intent on playing as a true freshman. With LaMichael James likely to leave and the VCHS star's physical maturity, it's a strong possibility. Earlier this fall he told Pavlovic, "I don't want to go in somewhere and redshirt," he said. "I want to start. I want to play. "

Many top prospects draw out their recruiting process with a signing ceremony or a news conference, but Rivals' #6 prospect was decisive.

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