December 6, 2011

Right to the point



RALEIGH, N.C. - Keith Marshall got right to the point once he got to the podium to address his friends, teachers, classmates and the assembled media who crowded into the auditorium at Millbrook High to hear where was going to play his college ball.

Resplendent in a pink button up shirt, Marshall had barely opened his mouth before pulling out a red Georgia baseball cap, signifying his decision to become a Bulldog, the program's 16th verbal commitment thus far for 2012.

"I just thought I'd get it over with," Marshall shrugged, who earlier in the day was fodder for all sorts of Internet rumors that Clemson was making a late run at the running back, the top-ranked All-purpose back according to Rivals.com.

Apparently, it was just not all chatter.

According to Marshall's mother, neither she nor her husband Woodrow knew exactly what their son was going to do even after arriving at the school for the 2:45 press conference.

"It went right down to the wire," Denise Marshall said. "We really weren't sure what he was going to do even after we got here."

Marshall, who is coming off a season which saw him rush for 1,860 yards and 25 scores, said he didn't get much sleep Monday night and didn't come to school Tuesday morning so he could think a little bit more.

It was real close," Marshall said. "Last night I went to bed thinking it might be Clemson, but then I woke up and felt Georgia."

It was a decision the 5-foot-11, 192-pounder said he doesn't regret.
"I just felt at peace with Georgia," Marshall said. "At Clemson, I loved everything down there but I did not want to have any regrets and at Georgia I knew I would have no regrets, no matter what happens."

Marshall will enroll early at UGA. He plans to get to Athens either Jan. 8 or 9.

He's already looking forward to jumping into the fray at running back, where he looks forward to the battle for playing time with Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas, Ken Malcome and Richard Samuel.

"I don't mind competing. It makes me better knowing I've got to bring my best in practice every day to practice or I won't get to play," Marshall said. "I welcome that."

Marshall said he's talked and traded texts with Crowell a number of times in recent days.

"I've talked to Isaiah, but not just about football," he said. "We just talked about how he liked his experience at Georgia. He said he likes it. He seems like a cool guy."

Woodrow Marshall laughed, saying was looking forward to getting some sleep Tuesday night after what he said was a stressful Tuesday for the family.

"What we tried to do was let him know that this was a decision he needed to take very seriously, to make a decision based on facts," the elder Marshall said. "Obviously gut is a big part of it but we really needed him to weed through some of the surface stuff, and I think he did that and think he did that and ultimately he made what he felt was the best decision."

Woodrow Marshall said his son's love for Georgia growing up as a child probably played a large role in his decision.

"I think it probably had some influence on it, but again, I think growing up watching a team certainly gives you a starting point for some teams you want to consider," Woodrow Marshall said. "But you still have to look at where you are, where the school is at that particular time. Obviously, Mark Richt having some job security helped but ultimately I think it's just about how he feels right now, where the school is right now and where he fits in."

Keith Marshall said Richt didn't hide his enthusiasm when he gave the word he planned to become a Bulldog.

"He was excited," Marshall said. "He just started screaming and said he was going to run five miles."