Before we begin today, let’s all take a moment to reflect on the power of the #18 jersey. It all started with Mike many years ago talking about his Lou Groza Award winner and friend of the site, Art Carmody #18 jersey which he commonly wore to home games back in the day. This of course transitioned into the support of battle-dancer and part time football player Titus Teague, then Andrell Smith, and Gerald Christian, and then Cole Hikutini. I have a very personal bond with Teague and the #18 as I was typing this post for Titus while sitting in the hospital room next to wife waiting for our daughter to be born. (Something very random, but it will be burned into my brain forever) The unique thing is that day in particular, 18 days, just so happens to coincide with the same day in this year’s countdown, meaning I get to celebrate the #18 jersey on the same day as my beautiful daughter turning 5 years old. The magic is real!
#18 Justin Marshall
Position: Wide Reciever
Hometown: Conyers, GA
Thoughts: Marshall was a big target for the Cards heading into the 2016 season. Having built many relationships in the state of Georgia they knew Marshall, a Top 10 4 star receiver in the state, would be a great fit in Petrino’s system, and fortunately around this time last year Justin agreed and committed to the Cards right before the 2016 season began. What was the major selling point for Marshall, the facilities, the staff, dairy kastle? Nope. DeVante Parker.
Justin “grew up” idolizing Parker’s game, watching everything he did in the college ranks and now in the pros, patterning his skills after the uber-talanted former Cardinal. Justin has some family and friends locally and saw just how big a mark Parker left on the program while he was here and wanted to recreate that production himself. When visiting with Louisville and Coach Galloway Marshall already knew about how they could use his skills and frame to help produce another NFL caliber talent as many had already compared his intangibles to Parker before he even stepped on campus.
While putting “DeVante Parker-like” expectations on a kid is very unfair I do think he can be another great in the long line of receivers Louisville has produced over the last 8-10 years. My gut tells me Marshall is towing that redshirt line this year due strictly to the depth on the outside this season in combination with not wanting to waste a season of his eligibility. Jaylen Smith and Dez Fitzpatrick would seem to have a lock on one side of the field while Seth Dawkins and Devante Peete or the “new and improved” Javonte Bagley will likely roam the other. He certainly sounds good enough to get reps in Year 1, but I’d hate to see him in limited time as the Cards could absolutely use him for 3 or 4 full seasons.
Good luck to Marshall this year and moving forward. The weight of the #18 jersey is not a light load to carry my friend. The eyes of Card Chronicle will be watching.
Good luck young man, it won’t be easy, it’ll get dirty, it’ll be hot, something’s won’t make sense, but others have battled through it before you and survived…I’m taking about Bettie Johnson. Football will be a piece of cake.