THOMASTON, Ga. — David Marshall wore Auburn gear to school on Tuesday. The 3-star defensive end has already committed to that football program twice. It sounds like a third time might be necessary. Or else.
Marshall told DawgNation.com on Tuesday he would be committed to Auburn with no January speedbumps between him and the SEC West if not for UGA coach Kirby Smart. The 272-pound senior didn’t have an offer from UGA until Smart arrived.
Now he’s one of the state’s most intriguing recruiting stories. The latest on Marshall covers everything from T-shirt selection plus an important Grandma to even a dab of negative recruiting. It also includes the nation’s top player from 2015 working him in Georgia’s favor.
When Marshall finished his official visit to Auburn this past weekend, he said he’d likely stick with that program. He didn’t expect his family or his grandmother Ada King to join him this weekend on his official visit to UGA.
That was before Smart used his only in-home visit with the 3-star defensive end on Monday night.
When it was over, Marshall tweeted out a photo he took with Smart and assistant coach Glenn Schumann. The Auburn commitment wore a Georgia shirt in that photo.
So what he wore to school on Tuesday may or may not have been in response to a call that he got from Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner after Smart’s visit. The Upson-Lee standout said Garner asked him why he wore that Georgia shirt.
Marshall said Garner also wanted to know how Smart convinced his grandmother — a key voice in his decision — to join him on his official visit to UGA. There’s one certainty in Marshall’s recruiting right now aside from the fact that he acknowledges that Ole Miss (his last official visit on Jan. 29) is likely out of it.
That’s his family. His family has to approve of his decision. King is already cozy with the thought of him at Auburn. She even has a relationship in bloom with Garner’s wife.
Marshall said Smart laid it on the line to convince his Grandmother to join him at UGA.
“I watched Kirby basically beg my Grandmother to come with me on my official visit,” Smart said. “He said “Please” and everything and told her that Georgia was an amazing place. That’s when it really dawned on me how much he wanted me.”
That moment also reinforced something he said that Smart has told him.
“He said he won’t stop recruiting me until signing day,” Marshall said. “That’s when he will give up. He’s been fighting for me since I committed to Auburn and then committed again to Auburn. He really wants me.”
For the record, Marshall said on Tuesday that Auburn still leads UGA in the race for his decision.
Who is recruiting him the hardest right now? “I’d say it is a tie,” Marshall said.
Which school is doing the best job of recruiting him? It was close, but he chose Auburn.
“They are showing a lot of love to my family right now,” he said.
He said the window for playing time is equal at each school. Marshall also laid out the reasons why he would not choose each program. With Auburn, he said he could not think of a reason.
“That’s a hard question,” Marshall said.
With Georgia, he said it would be because the program got in too late on him. That’s even though he said Tuesday there were some “die-hard Georgia fans” in his family.
Marshall also knows the players better at Auburn. That’s a plus because he only knows two players well at UGA in receiver Terry Godwin and defensive tackle Trent Thompson.
Thompson has been recruiting him to join him at UGA since he was a sophomore. That’s when Thompson, the nation’s top recruit last year, was not even publicly committed to UGA yet.
“He’s been in my ear since my tenth grade year that you really need to come to Georgia,” Marshall said. “He said he thought that I would really fit in there.”
Marshall said Auburn plans to visit him on Thursday to steel his commitment before he makes the trip to UGA on Friday. Godwin and Thompson are set to be his UGA player hosts this weekend.
Check out Marshall’s video interview above for his responses to the following questions:
- What is the status of his commitment to Auburn?
- He didn’t have an offer from UGA until Smart arrived. What has Auburn said to him to try to exploit that?
- What sort of red carpet treatment does UGA have in mind for his family this week?
- What does he play for? The personal story of what he does before every game to honor two members of his family that have passed away shows another side of him. He plans to continue that ritual at the college level.
Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.
Jeff Sentell covers UGA football and UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.