Hello: Lawrence Marshall

Submitted by Ace on May 11th, 2013 at 11:35 AM

via Michael Ferns' Instagram

Southfield (MI) DE/LB Lawrence Marshall, a former Ohio State commit and presumed Michigan State lock, has committed to... Michigan, of course, per fellow commit Michael Ferns and confirmed by the various recruiting outlets. Marshall was on campus today with Ferns and receiver commit Moe Ways, a long-time AAU teammate of Marshall's who's been recruiting him hard lately.

Marshall was expected to make a decision soon, but the choice wasn't supposed to be Michigan—according to 247, he's visited East Lansing eight (eight!) times since the beginning on February, and all six of the 247 experts to weigh in predicted he'd choose Michigan State.

Where's the threat? Oh, it's right here, and it's devouring us alive.


Scout Rivals ESPN 24/7 Sports
4*, #12 DE,
#89 Ovr
3*, #19 WDE 4*, 83, #12 DE,
#107 Ovr
4*, 91, #12 WDE,
#207 Ovr

As you'll see in the scouting section, Marshall is a relatively raw prospect with plenty of upside, so it's not surprising to see a major outlier in his rankings prior to his senior season; while the other three services have Marshall safely within their top lists, Rivals pegs him as a three-star ranked three spots below the last WDE four-star (Gelen Robinson, incidentally). His listed measurables range from 6'3", 215 lbs. to 6'4", 230—based on recent camp reports, the latter figure is probably more accurate.

With the rankings for Marshall largely based on his potential, his senior season and future camp performances could spur plenty of movement in either direction.


Allen Trieu's free report on Marshall's Scout profile is a good place to start—his listed strengths are athleticism, backside pursuit, and lateral range, with "techniques and moves" as his area for improvement:

Very long frame. Has great athleticism, change of direction and speed in pursuit. Has all of the tools to be an elite pass rusher, just needs continued work on his technique. Plays with hand down in high school, but may be a stand-up rusher in college. Has not been asked to drop into coverage much, but that's something he may be asked to do at the next level. Has to add some weight, but all of the raw tools are there. - Allen Trieu

I believe Marshall is more likely to end up at weakside DE—playing with his hand down—than standing up at outside linebacker, so this note from Trieu after an Adidas camp in March brings up an important point ($):

He's very long and athletic. He needs to still get stronger. Big, physical offensive linemen had success when they got their hands on him, but his feet and quickness are very impressive.

Until Marshall adds the requisite size and technique, he'll have a tough go against big offensive linemen. In college, that's every offensive lineman.

His athleticism, however, makes him a tantalizing prospect as an edge rusher. Steve Lorenz named him one of the top performers at the first HYPE Showcase in Canton, citing his size/speed combo as the primary reason, a couple weeks ago:

DE Lawrence Marshall (Southfield, MI/Southfield): Marshall was the headliner and for the most part performed as such. He continues to build himself up and has become a potentially lethal combination of size and speed. He still can occasionally struggle against bigger defenders a bit, but still usually gets to the tackling dummy without much of an issue.

And at the aforementioned Adidas camp Marshall even took a couple reps on offense... at wide receiver:

Southfield (Mich.) High Top247 defensive end Lawrence Marshall took a few reps at defensive end before moving over and showing his athleticism at receiver. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Marshall was rocked up and continues to add size each time we see him.

The fact that Marshall is consistently adding size is, of course, also a major positive at this point. In fact, according to a report from Rivals' Josh Helmholdt during Marshall's junior season, while Marshall needs to add size his strength may actually be a positive ($) [emphasis mine]:

DE Lawrence Marshall, Southfield, Mich. (2014):: The last few weeks have been especially fruitful for Marshall. Although his team made a second-round exit from the Michigan high school state playoffs, a wave of new scholarship offers has helped assuage the agony of defeat. Among the most recent to offer are Big Ten programs Indiana and Michigan State, and the appeal of Marshall is evident on junior film. At 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Marshall still has a lean frame, but he does not have issues with strength at the point of attack. He does a great job creating upfield momentum, which all starts with his explosive first step. Marshall comes off the line hard and low, and puts an exclamation point on his sacks by being a heavy hitter.

That was five months and 20-or-so pounds ago. If Marshall continues to get bigger, as is expected, I don't think there will be much question about him playing on the line when he gets to campus. His athletic ability gives him much more potential if he's playing defensive end—where it's harder to find such an athlete that can also hold the point of attack—than if he's thrown into Michigan's deep pool of linebackers.


Marshall also held offers from Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Oklahoma, Pitt, Syracuse, and Tennessee, among several others.


Southfield High School (Class A, Division 2) has been an above-average program for the last several years but hasn't had a lot of success in the state playoffs—last year, they fell to Oak Park in the second round. Marshall is the highest-ranked prospect the school has produced in the Rivals era—and that's going by his three-star Rivals ranking. Other notable prospects include 2012 TE Ron Thompson, who chose Syracuse over Michigan, and 2012 Cincinnati cornerback signee LEVITICUS PAYNE.


According to 247, Marshall recorded 79 tackles, 15 sacks, and four interceptions during his junior season.


None of the sites list a FAKE (or real) 40 time.


Marshall's tape very much falls in line with the scouting reports. He's got a great burst off the line and gets to the football in a hurry; he's also hardly touched on a good number of these plays and needs work on technique—when he gets to Michigan, he won't be able to simply run right past offensive linemen.


In case it hasn't been made abundantly clear, Marshall is a high-ceiling, boom-or-bust recruit. The potential is there for him to be a highly impactful edge rusher, but first he must add weight and refine his technique. [Insert praise of Michigan's D-line coaching here.]

It's possible that Marshall ends up at strongside linebacker, though I like him a lot more as a weakside end. Still, he has some positional flexibility and at the very least should turn himself into a situational pass-rusher. This comparison has been made elsewhere, but his size/speed combo and raw potential are very reminiscent of Frank Clark, this year's presumed starter at weakside end. Unlike Clark, Marshall should have a couple years of seasoning before he needs to see the field with Mario Ojemudia and Taco Charlton in the two classes ahead of him. From there, it's all about maintaining his athleticism while adding bulk and refining his technique—if he can do that, he's got double-digit sack potential.


I covered Michigan's defensive line situation in great detail yesterday; the short version is they'll happily take Marshall, Malik McDowell, and Da'Shawn Hand should the latter two also decide on the Wolverines. That would give Michigan one complete line in the 2014 class with Marshall (WDE), McDowell (3-tech/SDE), Bryan Mone (NT/3-tech), and Hand (SDE/WDE). This is by no means guaranteed to happen, but at this point it's difficult to not at least consider it a definite—and pretty damn awesome—possibility. Even if Michigan misses out on Hand, that's a heck of a D-line haul if they can keep McDowell in-state, which at this point is the expectation.

As for the class as a whole, Michigan now has nine commits (not including grayshirt Brady Pallante) in the 2014 class, which currently has room for 14 players but should end up closer to 20 when all is said and done. We know the Wolverines will take one more linebacker—probably either Chase Winovich or Kyron Watson—and probably a third offensive lineman, and spots will be held open for McDowell and Hand. Other priorities include a third receiver and, say, an elite defensive back (ahem).



Mr. Yost

May 11th, 2013 at 12:09 PM ^

This is the exact kind of kid they get 3-4 years ago with Michigan's mess (and not recruiting the state very hard) and OSU going through the Tressel scandal.

Gholston, Rush, Lawrence Thomas...MSU would be lucky to get ONE of those 3 in today's world.

With Hoke and Meyer rolling, ND and Brian Kelly as well...MSU should really go back to trying to get 3-star kids with potential and finding pipeline schools. That and hope the Bulloughs keep reproducing.

Mr. Yost

May 11th, 2013 at 1:18 PM ^

This is the exact kind of kid they get 3-4 years ago with Michigan's mess (and not recruiting the state very hard) and OSU going through the Tressel scandal.

Gholston, Rush, Lawrence Thomas...MSU would be lucky to get ONE of those 3 in today's world.

With Hoke and Meyer rolling, ND and Brian Kelly as well...MSU should really go back to trying to get 3-star kids with potential and finding pipeline schools. That and hope the Bulloughs keep reproducing.


May 11th, 2013 at 10:22 PM ^

MSU really hasn't been getting a bunch of high ranked guys in the state at any time recently.  The 2010 class landed them Gholston (overhyped, seems like a shitty human being), Bullough (probably born with green skin), and Joe Boisture (not as good as Devin Gardner who we landed in the same class).  The 2011 class landed them just Thomas (counting Rivals 4-star guys from Michigan), and he has redshirted, played fullback, and now is apparently moving back to D. 

The only time they got a big haul of "blue-chip" guys was in 2009 (7 local 4-stars) and the returns are pretty much all in.  Our class was infinitely better because we took out of state guys who didn't suck at football.  Denard, Lewan, Schofield, Fitz, Gallon, Roh and Washington totally trump the in-state guys State landed.  The only wins for State (calling Fitz vs. Baker a draw as each posted 1,000 yard sophomore seasons them slumped, though Fitz can grab victory with a solid comeback this year) out of that group are Norman (a Renaissance kid who we offered) and Sims (very talented, but at a position the offense wasn't featuring, we offered but it looks like he never visited anywhere but MSU).  That class drove perception in the media, especially because it coincided with their success and our struggles on the field, but we were much better off with the guys we got and they would have probably been better served by sticking to the unheralded 3-star guys (like Thomas Gordon and Jake Ryan) in Michigan and Ohio who had helped turn them into a B1G contender.


May 12th, 2013 at 8:09 AM ^

Excellent points.  The only one I'd dispute is Gholston seeming "like a shitty human being."  Yeah, he did some real shitty and dangerous stuff on the field, but I put that more on Narduzzi than anyone else.  It was obvious that sort of behavior was being encouraged.  The overall judgement as a person just seems a bit harsh.

Section 1

May 11th, 2013 at 9:28 PM ^


Marshall also held offers from Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Pitt, Michigan State, Syracuse, Michigan State, Tennessee, Michigan State, and Michigan State among several others. 


May 11th, 2013 at 12:07 PM ^

We have Mone and Marshall... If we end up with McDowell and Hand I say that DLines motto should be be "MHMM" like a nod to their abilities and hopefully careers. Ahahaa could you imagine being a quarterback being sacked 4 times a game and as one of these big fellas gets up off of you he doesn't say a word and just says "mhhmmmm"

Mr. Yost

May 11th, 2013 at 12:25 PM ^

...they just seem defeated. Maybe if their coach wasn't such a douche I'd feel bad for them. Kinda like when a big brother sees his knucklehead little bro get what he deserves.

There are some funny comments, but truly nothing too crazy. There are some realistic comments like this:


Unreal, let's just face it, our staff cannot recruit against Michigan or OSU.

And for those of you saying he was just up here to meet a girl, he put that rumor to rest a while ago. 8 visits and no commitment, he goes to Michigan one day and he commits. We're not doing it right."


At least they seem to realize the run is over and it's been over since Hoke arrived, Meyer just slammed the door.

As long as they know their role, I have no problem focusing my hate on Ohio. It's when they make "threat" and "weeds" comments, when they act like they're on the same level as Michigan and Ohio due to a few years, etc. is when my pure hatred for Sparty comes out. If they just shut up and play their position (7-5, 8-4)...I may actually not root against them every game (I don't know if I could ever root FOR them).


May 12th, 2013 at 9:47 AM ^

You're obviously a better person than me, because I don't feel bad at all.  I'm gonna confess some immaturity here, but I'm hungry.  If that makes me spoiled, then guilty as charged.  Beating them last year felt more overdue than satisfactory and they're still making excuses.

When they got their first couple of wins against Michigan as it was rebuilding from Carr's sunset years I was like, "Well, it wouldn't be a rivalry if they didn't get a few now and then."  But as they gained confidence the MSU fandom hit a fever pitch of insufferable douchebaggery that triggered several seismographs in Tunisia.

I don't want to just beat these guys in recruiting.  This is a fanbase that is thoroughly due for some badly deserved humiliation.  I want them pounded into submission.  I want four consecutive years of 20-point victories where their offense is kept below 10 points and I think Hoke's crew is up to the task.  It's nothing against the players; I want their coach and fans to take such a series of beatings that they collectively curl into fetal position in a corner.  And yes, I want the boys they recruited to show them why they chose Michigan instead.

Ditto with OSU.  It seems they've learned nothing from Tressel's ouster and have yet to get that smirk wiped off their faces.  They'll be tougher to bring down but I really want to see it happen.

Mr. Yost

May 12th, 2013 at 2:45 PM ^

I'm not saying I don't want those things too... I'm just saying, I will be able to tolerate them a little more if they know their place.

I certainly have no mercy for them on the field, but right now I despise everything about them. That wasn't always the case, I used to just not care. Ever since Dantonio took over, my level of hatred is on par with Ohio...that wasn't always the case.


May 13th, 2013 at 9:50 AM ^

I'm just flabbergasted by the Spartan fanbase's complete lack of self-awareness.  In their collective minds they think Mark Dantonio is a classy guy and that Brady Hoke is some kind of smooth-talking insurance salesman.  Pat Narduzzi is a better coach than Greg Mattison.  Michigan State is a more accomplished program than Michigan, and so on, and so on.

How can you talk to people whose delusion is so far removed from reality?

And yeah, I'd feel sorry for them if they hadn't spent their small cache of excellence equity they earned in 2010 and 2011 by being complete trolling, juggalo, douchebags.  They could've been magnaminous and sportsmanlike when they were on top, but no it was lowest level of chicanery all the way up to their head coach, so fuck them.

The real fun will be when a school finally pulls the big chair out for Narduzzi and Dantonio is left with nobody on his coaching staff upon which to rely.  That's when MSU turns into Northwestern again.  Ought to be fun watching how fast the Spartan faithful turn against their hero when they sink to that level...it's coming.