For Middletown’s Marshalls, Ohio State is a family affair

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Middletown’s Jalin Marshall names Ohio State, Florida and South Carolina as his Top 3.

He is the top-rated Class of 2013 prospect in Ohio by 247Sports. But Jalin Marshall is more than just a football player according to those close to him.


He is the top-rated Class of 2013 prospect in Ohio by 247Sports. But Jalin Marshall is more than just a football player according to those close to him.

“One
thing that I really love about him is that he’s just so humble,” said
De’Ante Marshall, Jalin’s brother. “He doesn’t brag. He doesn’t care
about swag and all of that stuff. He doesn’t care about having the
Jordans and everything. My parents get him pretty much what he wants
because he does well in school but he doesn’t even ask for a lot.”

In addition to his obvious football talents put on display for
Middletown, Jalin also excels in basketball, track and in the classroom.

“Last quarter he had, I think, a 3.5 or 3.6.,” De’Ante said. “
And he said this quarter, since he’s not going to be running in track
(he’ll compete in the long jump), he’s definitely going to aim for a
4.0. He’s in advanced classes. He’s in “Grease” right now, the musical,
and he’s practicing up for that. He won’t be at the spring game because
he has a show choir competition in Orlando. He plays the drums. He
produces music.”

And when it comes to football, some people in his hometown have
already compared him favorably to former Buckeye great and Middletown
alum Cris Carter.

“There have been comparisons just as far as who the better
athlete was and who was the best athlete to come out of Middletown,”
De’Ante said.“A lot of older people are saying ‘I saw Cris play and
Jalin is just more athletic,’ and a lot of people say Cris is just a
legend and it’s too early to say because of how good Cris was at Ohio
State. Pretty much the argument was just as far as the high school
career.”

Unlike Marshall, who will be a three-year starter at quarterback in the fall, Carter was a wide receiver for the Middies.

“Cris was an amazing athlete,” De’Ante said. “He played
basketball. He was pretty much like Jalin, just good at everything you
do. He ran track as well.”

Whether Marshall, at barely 6-foot and 189 pounds, will continue
his pursuit of playing quarterback at the next level or become more like
Carter was will be determined at some point.

“I just really expect him to go there and be a playmaker and be
used wherever they need him,” De’Ante said. “I don’t expect for him to
play quarterback, not that he can’t do it because I’m sure that he can.

But I know a little bit about football to understand that a 5-11 or
6-0 quarterback is not going to go to the NFL unless he is among the
elite of the elite or he’s Michael Vick.

“But for him to focus on trying to be a quarterback at the next
level, I think, would be doing himself a disservice because he is such
the playmaker and he could easily be, with hard work and being in a good
system, he can be a first round pick at wide receiver. He’s not at all
going to be a first round pick at quarterback.”

But Jalin has always been a quarterback at heart. He started
wearing No. 7 as youngster because he was behind center and was a fan of
Vick. And Jalin himself still intends to play quarterback.

“I think I can play quarterback and I accept that I have a lot of
work to do just to prove people wrong,” Marshall said. “But I’m
confident I can perform well as a quarterback because of the offense
that I’ve been in so I’m going to work hard this off season and just
prove a lot of people wrong that I can be a quarterback and I can come
in and compete for playing time at the position.”

A Westerville resident now, De’Ante is just happy he’ll get to
see his younger brother make big plays like Carter did in Ohio Stadium,
be it at quarterback or receiver. De’Ante attended Ohio State for two
years in pursuit of a mechanical engineering degree but moved away
before he graduated and transferred.

“I was a diehard fan when [Jalin] was still in middle school,”
De’Ante said. “Once I started going there I just became a huge fan and I
started following recruiting and all of that stuff long before he even
thought about being recruited by Ohio State.

“I’m 30 and he’s 16 so there’s a huge age difference there but
Jalin was always around me growing up so he just matured pretty fast.
I’ve always considered Jalin to be my best friend, he was my best man in
my wedding actually, so when it came time for him to be recruited, I
think his first offer was from Pitt or Cincinnati, and he started
getting the bigger offers it was like ‘Wow, this is really happening
right now.’ ”

According to De’Ante, his younger brother was sort of a Notre Dame lean at first.

“I was like, ‘There’s no way he’s going to Notre Dame,’ ” De’Ante
said. “So the Ohio State fan in me wanted him to go to Ohio State but
then the brother part wanted him to go where he wanted to go and where
he’d feel he would be the happiest.

“So that was pretty hard because, like I said, I’m a huge Buckeye
fan and I wanted him here because I live in Columbus and because that’s
my team. But I didn’t want to force him to do anything because I
honestly felt like I could have. If he didn’t want to go to Ohio State I
could have talked him into it but I didn’t want to do that.”

The uncertainty surrounding the Ohio State coaching situation last season also affected the Marshalls.

“Honestly at that point when I didn’t know who the coach was
going to be I was like, ‘Okay Notre Dame isn’t that far,’ ” De’Ante
said. “And then when Urban Meyer came it was just like, ‘Okay you have to go here.’ ”

Jim Tressel first recruited Marshall and then Luke Fickell
offered him a scholarship when he was in charge. But Meyer played the
biggest role in landing Marshall, who committed to Ohio State on Jan.
30.

“When Tressel lost his job, (Jalin) wasn’t into the whole media
frenzy of what was going on,” De’Ante said. “Once he heard Tressel was
gone he was like, ‘I still like Ohio State. It’s still a great football
program and the academics are good.’ So it didn’t really affect him much
and one of the main reasons it didn’t was because I think he had talked
to Tressel maybe two or three times so he hadn’t had a chance to really
build a relationship with Tressel anyway.”

The initial coaching change, from Tressel to Fickell, actually affected De’Ante more than it did Jalin.

“For me of course, being a Buckeye fan, like most people I just
kind of panicked and wondered what was going to happen next,” De’Ante
said. “I didn’t really know too much about Luke Fickell’s
situation, but Luke was the one who actually offered Jalin the
scholarship. It would have come from Tressel of course but he was just
gone at the time. So he ended up getting his offer from Fickell in his
office after, I think it was the Ohio State camp. So Jalin was really
excited about that. It was one of the offers that he had been waiting
on.”

Eventually Meyer came on board as the head man and that’s when
things really started to get interesting for the entire Marshall family.

“That was really cool because what happened was Jalin got a
Facebook message from Mark Pantoni and Mark told Jalin to have me call
him, so I called Mark,” De’Ante said. “At this point, the football fan
in me was like, ‘Wow.’ I didn’t really know who Mark was but I kind of
knew that he had a relationship with Urban Meyer.”

Pantoni had a little surprise for De’Ante when he called.

“We just talked about me being here in Columbus and then he said I
have somebody that wants to speak to you,” De’Ante said. “So he puts Urban Meyer on the phone and I was like, ‘Oh wow, it’s Urban Meyer.’
He actually invited me down to campus, I think it was on a Friday, I
was here and he just said to come on down I’d love to meet you.”

So De’Ante called the coach back on that Thursday and told him
his parents are going to be in town and he’d bring them with him.

“I’m sure he knew how much of an influence I have on Jalin and
how important it is to start developing relationships,” De’Ante said.
“At the time, Jalin hadn’t committed and it was kind of out there that
Notre Dame was high on his list and he definitely didn’t want to lose
him to Notre Dame.”

It wasn’t exactly an experience your average Buckeye fan has a chance to experience.

“It was very cool. A lot of fans aren’t afforded that access,”
De’Ante said. “You read your message boards and you kind of get hearsay
as to what they’re saying and what their beliefs are but when you get to
sit down and talk to (Urban Meyer) it’s a whole different thing.”

Of course, the two have since talked about the expectations for Jalin when he joins the Buckeyes in 2013.

“We talked about that about a month ago and I was saying that I
didn’t feel like he was going to be playing quarterback,” De’Ante said. “
And (Meyer) was like, ‘You never know. Because at that position I can
use an athlete there and if he can throw well enough, then I’ll put him
there.’ So he’s pretty much leaving it up to how (Marshall) develops.

“So if Jalin works hard, and that’s what he’s doing now, he’s
throwing a lot, he’s getting his arm strength together and he’s just
throwing a lot to his receivers. He’s determined to do it. Everything
else is pretty natural. He can catch, he has huge hands, he can catch
the ball. You can’t really teach the intangibles that he has. So as far
as him working on being a quarterback, if he does well then he does
well.

“But I’m not going to be one of those guys, and my father either,
that’s just going to snatch him out of the program or complain if he’s
not a quarterback.”

Ultimately, it will be Meyer’s decision of how to utilize Jalin. With Braxton Miller just a sophomore, Marshall will most likely have to wait at least one season, possibly two, to have a real chance at the helm.

“I think Jalin’s definitely going to throw the ball while he’s
there in some way, shape or form,” De’Ante said. “Now whether or not
he’s the full-time quarterback is yet to be seen. So if Jalin comes in
and he’s showing the work ethic to do it, and he actually produces well,
then he’ll put him there. ”

Meyer has obviously left that door open for Jalin.

“[Meyer] thinks I can come in and play early and do a whole bunch
of different things as the Wildcat quarterback or whatever he asks me
to do,” Marshall said. “I just want to go up there and win national
championships and move on to the next level in whatever role and I think
he can help me do that.”

The opportunities are likely to be there for Marshall in one form or another, sooner rather than later.

“All of the things that [Meyer has] been telling me make me more
excited to get there,” Jalin said. “They do a lot of things that suit me
as a player.”

And like he does now, Jalin will let his actions do most of the talking for him. That’s just the kind of young man that he is.

“He so modest and humble that he won’t talk about himself,”
De’Ante said. “But Jalin’s just a great kid. Anybody you meet and ask
will tell you that he’s just an all-around good kid. And he just so
happens to be a great football player.”

When his storied high school career ends at Middletown, he’ll
take his enormous talents to Ohio State and pursue his lifelong dream of
playing at the college level.

“It feels great,” Jalin said. “I wouldn’t want it to be any other
university right now. It’s all I ever wanted to be and it’s all I’ll
ever want. I’ve grown up a Buckeye fan and my family has always been
Buckeye fans and I’m sure they’ll all be excited when they see me step
on the field for the first time as a Buckeye. I’m very excited. I can’t
wait. It’s a dream come true, that’s all I can say about it. It’s all I
ever wanted.”

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