Andrew Marshall became Georgia Tech's sixteenth commitment on September 5th, 2013, only hours after Jake Whitley the day beforehand. He stands at 6'4", 267lbs, and hails from West Forsyth High School in the "World-Famous" Cumming, GA -- about 45 minutes straight up GA-400 from Bobby Dodd Stadium. (Fun story -- when my high school marching band got new uniforms for my junior year, we donated our old uniforms to the then-startup band program at West Forsyth. So you can thank me for Marshall signing.) He is the highest-rated player ever out of the young West Forsyth HS, though last year saw 3-star LB Mohamed Camara sign with South Carolina. A center by trade, Marshall was the fifth of six OLs to commit in this class, and the second of three-straight OL commitments. He signed with Georgia Tech over offers from Duke, Syracuse, and Wake Forest, among others (Auburn was thought to be the leading contender for a while), but was the second highest-rated OL in the state.
Marshall's film is impressive in a lot of ways, backing up that rating. First thing you'll notice is his blue-collar nature. Plain and simple, the guy doesn't give up on the play until the whistle has blown. You'll see a couple of plays where he's following the play 30 and 40 yards down the field, making an impact block in a place that you never see an OL do that. The other thing that's pretty apparent to me is his understanding of where he needs to be and where he needs to get his defender to on different plays. Run play? He can get his guy out of the gap (and usually out of the play). Pass play? He knows where he needs to be to extend pass protection after the guard loses his block. Couple that with his generally impressive athleticism and techniques, and Marshall looks to be a real gem. If he needs improvement, my guess is that it'll be in bulking up. I think he'll need another 20-30 pounds before he can reach his potential against BCS-level competition. The only other thing that concerns me is his techniques for grabbing on to guys -- it's not illegal for an OL to latch on to a guy's jersey inside his numbers, but I fear from his video that it looks like he may be dragging guys down in a way that he'll be called for holding in college. We'll see if that does become an issue, but then again a lot of his blocking in college won't be "traditional" run blocking, meaning it likely won't be a problem.
Marshall joins Errin Joe, Freddie Burden, and Thomas O'Reilly at the Center position, though he and O'Reilly could both legitimately play Tackle. It doesn't look good initially for him playing early, but at the same time neither Joe nor Burden have been able to stay very healthy in their careers -- and if that trend continues, a door could open for Marshall early on. But if it doesn't, I don't see that as a problem -- Marshall isn't at Tech under the charm of "early playing time", as you'll find out in a couple of weeks. (He's another incoming freshman that I interviewed.) In either case, I think Marshall is going to be well-known by Georgia Tech fans as a really solid OL in the coming years. The guy has the skills and mindset of an impact player in the trenches, and I'm guessing we'll all be very excited to have him for years to come.
Marshall was rated a 3-star prospect by Rivals (5.7) and the 247Sports Composite (.8503).
Is Marshall the best OL in this class? Will he be a stud moving forward? Impressed that I did so much to get him to Georgia Tech?