Troy Everhart saw it a few years ago on film as the coordinator of recruiting services for the University of Cincinnati. Jalin Marshall (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown) didn't believe he had earned it until the first game of this, his senior season.
Now the coach at Middletown, Everhart still shakes his head when he sees how incredible Marshall has become in what has been a highlight-reel career for the future Ohio State Buckeyes player.
"He's got an uncanny knack for taking things and moving forward," Everhart said about his star quarterback. "He's got such a tremendous package of size and speed. He's 6-foot. He's probably close to 220 [pounds] now. He's a big mama jama.
"He's got explosive speed, yet has the ability to stop and cut and regain that speed almost instantaneously. To me in that regard, he has more physical tools than anyone I've ever dealt with."
That's saying a lot, considering Everhart's coaching resume is two decades long and includes Ohio state championships.
Everhart's words took on even more validity Friday, when Marshall accepted his jersey as part of the 2013 American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game.
Such an honor is becoming commonplace for Marshall, who has accounted for 18 touchdowns and 1,716 yards of total offense through eight games this season.
Marshall is the reigning Ohio Division I long jump champion and was a fourth-place finisher in the high jump. He was named an All-Ohio football selection after a junior season that saw him throw for 792 yards and run for 1,859 while scoring 26 touchdowns.
The ESPN 150 athlete is also the first name on almost everyone's lips -- including Buckeyes' commits -- when they talk about the standouts in Ohio State's 2013 recruiting class.
Yet Marshall, who has been the starting quarterback for the Middies for three seasons, didn't really believe he belonged among the most buzzworthy recruits until the first game of the season.
Middletown lost to Cincinnati St. Xavier 43-39, but Marshall showed everyone why he's regarded a can't-miss prospect for the Buckeyes.
In defeat, Marshall carried the ball 23 times for 312 yards and scored three touchdowns on the ground and added a passing touchdown as well.
The game ended with Middletown on the shadow of St. Xavier's goal line, but Marshall felt he emerged from the shade of a public image that had him hyped at a level where he was not previously comfortable.
"It showed me I could be the most valuable player people say I am," he said. "When I finally felt that, it felt good to be the player I wanted to be. But I still have to work hard."
He credits everything to his parents and those around him, and shies away from the praise, saying he's just operating with the tools he's been given and trying to get better every day through the hard work instilled in him.
He knows when he gets to Ohio State he'll likely be a slot receiver and is embracing the role. But most of all, Marshall knows when accolades come along to welcome them and thank the ones who made it possible.
As for the future, Marshall is ready to take that in stride. While many look to achieve greatness on the field, he's striving to succeed well past his playing days.
"Ohio State will teach me a lot of things about life," he said. "As an athlete, I hope I'll be one of the top players in the country and go into the NFL draft. But if I don't, I'll just go out and get a job somewhere with the degree I earned."