USC lock? Maybe. Reminiscent of the recruitment of Adoree’ Jackson or Juju Smith? Yeah. However, something about this recruitment feels a little different. In the past, a guy like Marshall would be criticized by his family and friends for “settling” with UCLA when he could get a free ride to USC. Those days are changing. USC has lost to UCLA three straight years. The general consensus about the UCLA coaching staff is that they care about their players, develop their players, and are turning UCLA into a national power. On the other hand, USC coach Sarkisian and his staff do not have the same reputation. They still have the USC tradition and historic reputation which is huge, but high school coaches and parents of recruits are not as blindly enthralled with USC as in years past. In other words, we no longer feel it is a given that a 5-star recruit from Poly will automatically pick the Trojans.
This particular recruitment is one of the strangest we have seen in a while. Only a month ago, we were certain UCLA was out of the running for Iman “Biggie” Marshall. Done. Dead in the water. Over and out. We moved on.
Today, we feel very differently.
For one, we hear he has visited the UCLA campus not once, but twice in the last couple weeks. Coach Mora also recently visited him at Poly High School and we definitely believe Mora is the key in this recruitment. We are hearing that Mora is guaranteeing that he will take a personal interest in the development of Marshall during his UCLA career and will do as much as possible to prepare Marshall for the NFL. And we are hearing this is very appealing to this recruit.
If it were any other head coach like say, USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian, it would be nice, but not a deal maker. However, with Mora, it is significant because Mora played defensive back in college, was the secondary coach for the Seattle Seahawks, as well as the San Diego Chargers and the New Orleans Saints. Mora was also the defensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49er’s and the Seattle Seahawks, and was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks. There are few coaches, if any in the country that are more qualified than Mora to prepare a college defensive back for the NFL. A college player can’t buy that level of coaching and this is rare air for a defensive back wanting to get to the league.
The UCLA coaches are also playing up the idea that at UCLA, Marshall will be THE MAN, while at USC, he will ALWAYS be compared to fellow former Poly athlete Juju Smith. In a way, he will be considered Juju’s little brother during his Trojan career. One thing we do know about Marshall is that he has a healthy ego. Being in the shadow as “Juju’s little brother” for the next couple years may not appeal to him anymore than it probably did during his Poly career.
In other related Marshall recruiting news:
1) We are hearing it is also appealing to him to play will fellow Poly teammates Colin Samuel (committed to UCLA) and Jojo Wicker (likely to commit to UCLA).
2) UCLA is now again recruiting Snoop Lion/Dogg’s son, Cordell Broadus. We know that Broadus and Marshall have been talking to each other recently about their respective recruitment’s and how UCLA is a big part of that picture – we find that an interesting development. Also, there are reports (we have not been able to verify) that Broadus will be taking an official visit to UCLA 1/30/2015.
3) Based on Twitter news, we believe he has been developing a good relationship lately with several UCLA recruits, which can’t hurt.
4) Many people have been telling us this is exactly like Adoree’ Jackson from last year. Adoree’ gave every indication he was really interested in UCLA and then chose USC. However, we think these are two very different people and different recruiting stories. Jackson frequently talked to the media and gave a number of specific things that were important to his choice of schools. The fans believed him when he said he was very open and in fact, USC may not even have been the favorite. For instance, we remember reports that Jackson said the most important criteria for him was going to a school that would be able to get him to the next Olympics in the long jump. We found that interesting, so of course the first thing we did was to look up the bio of the USC long jump coach. While that coach may be a nice guy, if we were hoping to get to the Olympics, he would not be very high on the list of coaches we would entrust our career to. There were probably a lot of schools in the country (including UCLA) that were more qualified to prepare him for the Olympics. Yet, Jackson still chose USC, in spite of it not meeting his number one criteria.
Marshall is different than Jackson. Frankly, in our opinion, he appears far more mature and serious about his recruitment.
Now, what does all this mean? Maybe nothing but we no longer would be shocked if he were to choose UCLA on signing day. We are not expecting it but we definitely think there is enough evidence to believe that UCLA has a puncher’s chance in this one. And frankly, we need the coaches to keep swinging at guys like Marshall (that is, supposed 5-star Trojan locks). One day one of them will say “yes” and that will be the day that USC fans everywhere, will remember as the day the world changed for them.
UPDATE: One of our readers let us know that a poster by the name of OswegoBruin on the BruinGold.com (or maybe BruinZone.com?) forum has promised to run naked through the streets of Westwood if Biggie signs with UCLA. We suggest they get their birthday suit ready, just in case!
BTW, both BruinGold and BruinZone are great FREE sites with good, knowledgeable UCLA sports fans. We highly recommend both!
COMING SOON: BruinAuthority.COM IS WORKING ON A BOATLOAD OF FREE OR DISCOUNTED STUFF ONLY AVAILABLE TO READERS OF THIS SITE. KEEP CHECKING BACK – WE HAVE SOME AWESOME OFFERS WE ARE LINING UP FOR OUR FELLOW BRUIN FANS!