By Steve Williams
All’s well that ends well. That, it seems, was the case in the recruitment of Seth Marshall.
The West High quarterback, who guided the Rebels to the Class 5A state championship in December, was one of the most productive football players in the state during the 2014 season, but recruiters weren’t knocking down his door to get to him.
On Jan. 30, six days before the National Signing Day, I e-mailed outgoing West coach Scott Cummings for a recruiting update on Marshall, and Cummings did even better than that. He passed along my message to Seth. That same day, Marshall e-mailed me back.
“Right now there is not much but a preferred walk-on (offer) at UT-Chattanooga, and (I’m) still in progress with Wofford on if they are going to offer anything. Also Bethel has offered and University of the Cumberlands and (I had) a little talk with Carson-Newman.”
I wanted to tell Marshall to hang in there, but being a newspaper sports reporter I chose instead to be professional. I e-mailed Seth back, thanking him for the update and to please keep me posted.
“Will do thank you!” replied Marshall.
Sure enough, Seth sent me his good news on Feb. 3, the day before the big day.
“Hey this is Seth again and I have committed to Wofford College today!”
The exclamation point said volumes. I interpreted that the young man was really happy.
Wofford, by the way, is located in Spartanburg, S.C., and is a member of the Southern Conference and a NCAA Division I school. Its enrollment is around 1,500. Last season, the Terriers were 6-5 overall and 4-3 in conference play.
And get this. Wofford opens the 2015 season Sept. 5 at Clemson.
After getting Seth’s big news, I e-mailed him back on the afternoon of Feb. 4 for more information.
Seth, Thanks for the info, I e-mailed, and congratulations! At your earliest convenience, will you e-mail me a “quote” on your decision to commit to Wofford, and what position you expect to play there. And what will be your goals at Wofford?
“It just felt right,” he replied 16 minutes later.
“I am expecting to play running back. My goals at Wofford will be to prove myself on the field and get a great education. The goals I’ll set at Wofford will be to get in the RB rotation, improve every year, and to come out a better man.”
I asked Marshall if he could send me some of his top stats, and he obliged.
Marshall, a 5-9, 185-pounder, set the West High school record for career touchdowns (83). That’s rushing and passing combined.
His total rushing yards was 3,901. (Seth actually was a running back before Cummings needed him to take over at quarterback his junior season). As a runner (RB and QB), he averaged 10 yards per carry in his career.
All along, Cummings, who is leaving West to be the new head coach at Cleveland High, has been outspoken about the recruitment or lack of it, in Marshall’s case. I asked Cummings to comment further on that, and boy did he.
“At some point college football coaches have to change their mentality away from looking for all the measurables,” e-mailed Cummings. “We all want tall, long, thick, 4.4 40, 38-inch vertical players. But at some point being a ‘football player’ trumps those things. There are great players in the NFL all the time that don’t match the prototype for a position. Wes Welker for example. Seth is a football player. He’s special.
“Wofford is a perfect fit for Seth,” continued Cummings. “He can fit in their offensive scheme as a RB and flourish. He runs a 4.50 40 which is way fast enough and he has great instincts with the ball in his hands. Academically, Wofford is a great school which was also a good fit for Seth.”
Good luck Seth and Coach Cummings, and thanks for the update!