On Memorial Day, Jackie Marshall from East St. John High School (Laplace, Louisiana) dropped his top five on twitter that included Baylor, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech. As far as power five talent goes, the state of Louisiana consistently churns out top level recruits - Marshall not being the exception.
Before the trim Marshall was fielding offers from Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Lamar, Louisiana, Louisiana-Monroe, Memphis, Miami, Michigan State, Nicholls State, Northwestern State, Ole Miss, South Alabama, and Washington State. He stands at 6-foot-2 with 230lbs to back it up. The three-stars on Marshall’s 247 tag don’t do his game justice, either; being ranked as the no. 24 linebacker in the nation and no. 16 overall player in Louisiana. Scouts have consistently remarked on his ability to come of the edge, which was illustrated last season by his 82 tackles (38 TFL) and 11 sacks.
With the final five teams represented, though, it’s difficult to get a read on where Marshall is leaning towards. If there’s something to be said for proximity to home then Louisiana Tech and Houston are the only real contenders there. The fact that he has three Big 12 schools on his final five doesn’t lead me to believe that he would stay in Louisiana, though. Oklahoma State fans seem convinced he’ll come to Stillwater. It is one of the only schools he was able to visit and the first to recruit him, but their roster already has seven (7) linebackers of varying experience including 2 commitments for the ‘21 class. I won’t count Gundy out, though, because he does have a strong history of recruiting Louisiana.
Then there’s Baylor with not nearly as many linebackers on their roster and only one (1) commit for the ‘21 class. What’s peculiar about the Baylor connection is who on their staff is recruiting him: Dennis Johnson. This is a Louisiana guy through-and-through, not only as a LSU player but also as a future recruiter and coach. He was integral to LSU’s last three signing classes being so strong and it’s no wonder why new HC Dave Aranda plucked him from the Tiger’s staff. Don’t overlook that LA connection because Johnson’s role at Baylor is as a defensive line coach.
Finally, we’ve got Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are the most flush with linebackers out of this group with seven (7) on the roster, but unlike Oklahoma State and Baylor there has yet to be a commitment for the 2021 class. If you’re trying to find Tech’s strong connection that rivals Gundy & Johnson’s then you don’t have to look any further than Kevin Cosgrove. Remember that guy? We hired him on as a linebacker’s coach in February - here’s the article. Cosgrove, like Johnson, created a significant connection to Louisiana during his year as an analyst for LSU. When Cosgrove came on staff he made it clear that he’ll focus a lot of recruiting effort on Texas, but he will likewise pull from talent in Louisiana - and not but a week later Texas Tech officially offered Jackie Marshall.
Texas Tech and Baylor landing on Marshall’s top five leads me to believe that there’s a real battle between the Louisiana connections. Johnson has no doubt proven himself alongside the other coaches during his long tenure at LSU, but Cosgrove has a pedigree all his own from a variety of schools. He’s mentored 50 eventual NFL players including 16 All-Americans, four NFL first-round draft picks, a no. 1 overall NFL Draft selection, and a Jim Thorpe Award winner (top defensive back). If it does settle between Baylor and Texas Tech for Marshall then it would seem more pragmatic to go to the school where you’ll actually be working with the coach recruiting you - and the school that is churning out linebackers to the NFL.
With no timetable for Marshall’s final decision there’s still a lot of recruiting to be done on all sides, but don’t count any school out of this just yet.