Signee turns Texas community into pig country

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas freshman Jonathan Marshall wants to be the pride of Shepherd, Texas, as a college football player while putting the Razorbacks on the map in his hometown.

Marshall, one of the big signings on the Razorbacks’ defensive line, reversed his commitment late in the Oklahoma State recruiting process to Arkansas.

Jonathan Marshall’s look

CLASS Freshman


POSITION Defensive end

DATE OF BIRTH September 16, 1997 (18)

PARENTS John and Wynee Marshall

HOMETOWN Shepherd, Texas

Shepherd High

NOTES Ranked 17th strong defensive end in the nation and one of the 50 best players in Texas by … Ranked No. 57 defensive end in the nation by and No. 59 by … No. 11 defensive end in Texas by Scout. … Played defensive end, defensive tackle, tight end and running back for Shepherd High. … Named Class 4A All-State Second Team by Texas Associated Press Sports Editors. … Scored over 1,100 points and over 800 rebounds as a four-year winner in basketball. … Cousin Cedric Reed played in Texas and is on the Buffalo Bills roster. … Committed to Oklahoma State before a late move to Arkansas. …Choose the Razorbacks over Oklahoma State, TCU, Nebraska and others.

He is now quite a Pig.

“It was just that everything here was better than Oklahoma State when I was officially there,” Marshall said. “Arkansas was better academically, socially and athletically than Oklahoma State, so that was the most important thing for me here.”

Now Marshall promotes Arkansas football in Shepherd, a town of 2,372 in 2013 according to the US Census Bureau.

“You’d be amazed at how many pig emblems are floating around Shepherd right now,” said David Benbow, Shepherd High School’s defensive coordinator for the past two seasons. “Jonathan thought it was funny, so he brought me the rubber pig nose and a pair of ears to wear.

“We’re blue and white as a school, but we’re shooting for the Hogs right now.”

Marshall has impressed Arkansas veterans since arriving on campus earlier this summer.

“He’s just a beast,” senior linebacker Brooks Ellis said. “He’s going to be really good. He jumped. He’s just huge, and he can lift a lot of weight and moves really well.

“He’s won a few races in practice, and he looks really good. He’s got a really good spirit too.”

Lee Knight, Shepherd High’s defensive line coach for the past two years, said Marshall had an incredible heart, loved people and was physically impressive.

“Jonathan is an athletic maniac,” he said. “If you’ve seen everything he’s done since he’s been in Arkansas, you know this isn’t earth-shattering news.”

Marshall said the idea of ​​playing high-level college football struck him as a junior, when many Power Five school coaches began scouting him.

“I was trying to outdo everyone in town, to be the best out of this town,” Marshall said.

Marshall has a shot at being the best college football player Shepherd has ever produced, but he has competition from Tyler Kolek — the Miami Marlins’ No. 2 pick in the 2014 MLB Draft who threw 102 mph as a than a high school student – ​​for a top athlete.

“Jonathan is the best boy we’ve ever known,” said Shepherd High football coach Miles Robinson. “His personality doesn’t match his body type. He’s a laid-back, easy-going kid until the lights come on. Then he’s a different type of player.”

Marshall, who weighed 270 pounds in high school and is now listed at 293 pounds on the Arkansas roster, played end and tackle on defense, then added tight end and running back duties for the school. class 4A.

“I have video of him running the ball, and he would just destroy people,” Robinson said. “For a kid built like that, his athletic ability is incredible.”

Says Benbow: “The first time we gave him the ball… he went through that second level, and you’ve never seen the safeties and the cornerbacks having to decide whether or not they really wanted to attack someone like they did. were avoiding.”

Benbow called back a defensive play in a scrimmage against Bellaire Christian on which Marshall cocked the left tackle and left guard, who would double him, and powered into the backfield.

“He attacked mesh point, quarterback and tailback for a loss of 6 yards,” he said. “It is not a lie.”

Marshall, who ran 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash, plans to learn from veterans such as Deatrich Wise and JaMichael Winston this season. He’s targeted to play the final position the Razorbacks call the “heavy five,” a spot that should provide strong running support but from which Wise picked up eight sacks last season, seven in the last four. matches.

“He’s a big, linear guy … who’s good with his hands,” Arkansas defensive coordinator Robb Smith said.

“Jonathan is a guy with great length,” Arkansas defensive line coach Rory Segrest said. “He’s a powerful guy. I really thought he would be a great development guy, and he has great skills.”

Benbow said Marshall is a unique player.

“What I mean by that is this: His skill set with his attitude and just his general carefree outlook on life is very rare,” Benbow said. “You get kids who are a level above their competition like Jonathan was, you start to deal with certain kinds of attitudes that go with it. Jonathan has never missed a practice session. Jonathan n “Never missed a summer strength and conditioning workout. He never missed an open gym to train to play basketball. He was just there to improve. That’s why he’s where he is now, from little Shepherd to the SEC.

Marshall said his goal this season is pretty simple.

“I want to show the coaches that I have a great work ethic,” he said. “I want to get to know the pieces so I can progress through play time next year.”

Benbow said Marshall had already made Shepherd proud, and he guaranteed Razorback fans would feel the same for years to come.

Sporty on 07/30/2016

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