Sunday, July 6, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #50 Lawrence Marshall

Lawrence Marshall (image via Scout)
Name: Lawrence Marshall
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 245 lbs.
High school: Southfield (MI) Southfield
Position: Defensive end
Class: Freshman
Jersey number: #93
Last year: Marshall was a senior in high school. He made 68 tackles, 8 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. He finished as a 247 Composite 4-star, the #10 weakside end, and #176 overall.
Final TTB Rating: 72

Marshall originally committed to Ohio State after visiting Columbus in the spring of 2013, only to reconsider and decommit shortly thereafter. Then in early May, he committed to the Wolverines. It wasn't a Kyle Kalis-level event from rival to rival, nor did it have the buildup of Gareon Conley flipping to Ohio State. Still, there are worse things than stealing a recruit from the Buckeyes. Marshall was expected to give Michigan a boost in the recruitment of defensive lineman Malik McDowell (who transferred from Detroit Loyola prior to the 2013 season), but that was not to be. McDowell eventually chose Michigan State, and Marshall ended up as the only defensive end in Michigan's 2014 class. He had a solid senior season and was chosen for the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl.

Marshall has reached a good size for a freshman defensive end and comes in larger than any weakside end prospect in recent memory (most of them have been 215-230 lbs.). That may be fortunate, because Michigan is a little short on weakside ends and may need Marshall to play a role this season. Established starter Frank Clark has an experienced junior backup in Mario Ojemudia, but that's where the depth chart stops. Michigan could rearrange some things and put strongside guys Taco Charlton or Brennen Beyer at weakside end if necessary, because there's more depth behind them. Regardless, this coaching staff has gone three deep at weakside end for the past few years, so my expectation is that they will play Marshall. One other strategy in the past has been to play a SAM linebacker at weakside end in nickel situations, which might save someone like Marshall from burning his redshirt; however, Cameron Gordon graduated and Jake Ryan moved to middle linebacker, so putting Ryan down at WDE would necessitate bringing in a backup middle linebacker, which is a questionable move. The coaching staff will probably try to get Marshall's feet wet early in the season so he can contribute more as the year goes along.

Prediction: Backup weakside end


  1. Do you still see him eventually moving to the other side (of the line, as a strong-side end)?

    1. Yes, I do, but that seems to be standard practice with this coaching staff (Roh, Beyer, Charlton, etc.).

    2. Have a hunch that we will see less of GMatt flipping DL based on formation this year, especially with the revised 4-3 look. Not being set at the snap has been a glaring problem for UM against hurry up teams. And they are playing a lot of spread teams this year. Last season, it looked like the CB's tended to stick more to one side rather than flipping based on field/boundary, as was more common in previous seasons.

  2. Good analysis. I think with the switch to OVER you'll see less of the SAM at DE stuff and more of 2 of 3 nominal WEs in on passing downs instead. I think Marshall will play a good bit and is a lock to 'burn' his red-shirt. Charlton and Ojemudia have playing time the last couple years as true freshman pass rushers and both made some plays. I expect more of the same from Marshall.

    This is a kid that deserves a little more hype than he's getting, I think, because of the McDowell stuff. If McDowell had committed earlier and Marshall had flipped late, there'd be a lot more fan buzz.

  3. Dagnabbit... another red shirt burned!!

  4. Good post. Agree that Ryan will rush/blitz from the ILB spot more now, rather than lining up at DE in passing situations. I felt that either Marshall or Furbush would get snaps as a nickel DE this year. With Furbush having the offseason wrist surgery and coming in light, Marshall looks like a better bet. He is an important prospect for UM since they missed out on other DE prospects late.