Once Jalin Marshall finds a seam, forget about catching him.
Aiken (Cincinnati) found that out the hard way two years ago when Marshall was making his varsity debut as a freshman at Middletown (Ohio). The Middies were up 41-6 in the fourth and decided to take out starting quarterback Caleb Watkins to give Marshall some reps.
Turns out he only needed one rep to showcase his exceptional talents — Marshall rocketed to a 56-yard touchdown run on his first snap.
Marshall only got one more carry that season, but it was enough to show Middletown it was in good hands when Watkins graduated.
Now a junior, Marshall has thrown for 1,475 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushed for 3,285 yards and 37 scores in his two seasons as a starter. Last year, the 6-foot, 200-pounder threw for 782 yards and six touchdowns and ran for 1,859 yards and 20 touchdowns on 237 carries (7.8 yards per carry) to lead Middletown to the Division I regional playoffs, where the Middies fell to Moeller (Cincinnati). Marshall ran for 283 yards and two touchdowns in the loss.
The ESPNU 150 Watch List member currently holds offers from Cincinnati, Pitt, Ohio State, UCLA, Illinois, Notre Dame and Tennessee. Marshall is spending the offseason working on his throwing mechanics so he can become even more of a dual-threat quarterback this fall.
Get Familiar with the dynamic playmaker before he takes off.
ESPNHS: What was it like scoring on your first varsity play?
Marshall: It was exciting. I didn’t expect to get in (the game), let alone score. As soon as I saw a seam open up, I ran as fast as I could. Everything was going in slow motion. My heart was racing. I wanted to do 100 flips (after I scored), but I took the ball to the sideline and told my coach, “Thank you for the opportunity.”
ESPNHS: When did you receive your first offer?
Marshall: It was after the third game of my sophomore year. It was from Cincinnati. I was excited. It took a burden off my shoulders, that I had the opportunity to go somewhere and play after high school. Playing at Middletown, we have high expectations. And if you do well, most people expect you to go to a good college. Pitt offered me two weeks after Cincinnati.
ESPNHS: What were your thoughts after Ohio State hired Urban Meyer and did you lose interest in the Buckeyes after they were hit with NCAA sanctions?
Marshall: When I graduate, everything will be over there, so I really didn’t think about it. [Hiring Urban Meyer] sparked my interest a lot with the offense he runs and the power he brings to Ohio State. I’ve talked to him a couple times. I’m excited to meet him and see what he has in store.
ESPNHS: Is the Moeller loss at the forefront of your offseason workouts?
Marshall: It motivates me a lot. We’re growing a little bit, but I think we’re a way better team than how we played. We have to have the mentality that we can’t lose any game.
ESPNHS: How do you deal with all the recruiting attention?
Marshall: I try to answer as many phone calls as I can. I’ve got a great family to help me through this process, and I’ve got to stay humble.
ESPNHS: Who’s inspired you to succeed in football?
Marshall: My mom. She got her master’s degree. It took her a long time and she has five kids and a full-time job, but she never let it hold her down. She’s now a surgical assistant at Kettering Medical Center.
SCHOOL: Middletown (Ohio)
TV Show: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
Movie: “Forrest Gump”
Musical Artist: Drake
Pro Team: Minnesota Vikings
Athlete: Michael Vick
School Subject: Science
Food: BBQ chicken
Jon Mahoney covers football for ESPNHS.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know which high school football player he should Get Familiar with.