The Marshall Plan: WR Will Play, If Ready

Photo: Will Gallagher/Inside Texas

Four-Star Texas WR signee Josh Marshall's off-season conditioning program has come under the watchful eye of his father Charles 'Tank' Marshall. But the former All-Southwest Conference DE from Texas A&M (1973-77) won't be able to watch should his son get in on the action against the Aggies this November.

"He told me he will cheer for Texas in every game but, when we play A&M, he won't be there," Josh told Inside Texas this week. "He is just so tied and connected to A&M that he just doesn't want to be there. He said he'll be down the street (on November 24)."

'Tank' went on to play for the Houston Oilers and New York Jets, but Maroon has always been the signature color in the Marshall household.

"That's all there was: maroon everything," Josh said.

But just because Josh picked the Burnt Orange does not mean that his Aggie father is seeing red. Dear 'ol dad never tried to sway his decision, John insisted. Even so, the recruiting process was a maddening time for Josh as the in-state rivals battled for his services. The Honorable Mention 5A All-State pick from Arlington Martin product narrowed his choices to A&M, Texas and Oklahoma. He took an unofficial visit to Norman in July, 2005 before giving Texas his verbal the following month.

"It wasn't a difficult decision to come to Texas because I'd been around A&M a long time because of dad," he said. "A&M just never clicked for me. It just never felt like a place that I could be for four or five years. A&M was fine for my dad, but it didn't feel like a fit for me."

So, what made The University of Texas click?

"Everything about the place: the atmosphere, the academics, the athletics. You have so many opportunities to build and to get better, to get a degree and to succeed in life."

But will opportunity come knocking for Marshall as early as this season? Josh believes he will play WR at Texas rather than TE, where some have projected him. There's a general consensus among incoming freshmen, however, that WRs are the most likely of February's signees to collectively redshirt.

Not so fast, my friend.

"Coaches have told us to come in over the summer, work hard, learn the system and get adjusted to college life," Josh said. "Basically, if you're ready, then it all depends on you. If you think you're ready, and you're good enough, then you don't have to redshirt. But if you think you need a year to get adjusted to college, to the work, to the whole atmosphere, then they'll redshirt you."

His preparation has already begun. Josh was already working with a personal trainer when Inside Texas visited his school campus in January. Meanwhile, his father has pushed him to hit the weights and has now added five pounds of lean muscle to his 6-4 frame, tipping the scales at 210. He runs a 4.55, which means that he currently has (at best) deceptive speed.

"I might not have that top speed where I can blow people away," Marshall previously told Inside Texas, "but I'm quick to where I can get on them pretty fast and do what I've got to do. I have great hands and I can run nice routes."

Even so, priority has been given to increasing his release from the LOS. He works on "explosiveness" by pulling sleds, running hills and with both long-distance and short-distance sprints. WR Coach Bobby Kennedy has reviewed some of the basic pass patterns with Marshall but he has yet to peruse the playbook. Players received playbooks in June last year. For now, Marshall and his fellow signees have received a fitness manual to help them arrive in playing-shape.

"I've been following that for a while, for a long time now," Marshall said. "It has to do with working out in the weight room and then going out and running."

The two-time all-district pick had 114 catches for 1,459 yards and 11 TDs during his final two seasons. Marshall lettered in baseball during his sophomore and junior seasons, earning first-team all-district honors in 2005 as a pitcher. He switched to track and field his senior year, competing in the long jump and triple jump.

Every freshman that Inside Texas personally visited this year has vowed to participate in voluntary summer workouts, and Marshall is no exception. He'll start classes on June 2 and expects to major in Sports Management.

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