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What Michigan football commit Nate Marshall brings to the table

What a start to the recruiting career of Lou Esposito, huh? This is Esposito’s first cycle at a Power Five (or Power Four?) school, and he hit the ground with Usain Bolt speed. Esposito hosted Nathaniel Marshall for a Spring Game visit last weekend with little expectation of a commitment but managed to get Marshall into the class within one business day of his visit. Great stuff from a member of the new defensive staff. Sherrone Moore deserves credit here as well, but it’s especially impressive that Esposito got the ball rolling this fast.

Now, onto how Marshall fits into the team.

Firstly, Marshall is a huge land. There is no way around it. The kid holds a .9785 grade from the 247Sports Composite and is the 35th player nationally, hovering just outside of the five-star range. Assuming his grade stays the same, Marshall would be the highest Michigan commit since Will Johnson in 2022.

On defense, Marshall plays mostly on the inside of the defensive line but will likely be a defensive end at Michigan. He is listed at 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, and can probably add a little more weight in college. At first glance, I would expect him to take over Derrick Moore’s role in the defense as a thicker edge defender who occasionally slides down inside in certain fronts.

 

The only thing that gives me pause with Marshall is his lack of experience playing on the edge. He takes almost all of his snaps lined up in a three-point stance on the inside of Fenwick’s defensive line, so there will be a learning curve once he gets to campus. The potential to be a dangerous pass rusher is clearly there, though. When he is isolated with an offensive lineman he is able to bowl past the blocker and blow up plays, he’s got a motor that allows him to get cleanup sacks, and has the athleticism to string out runs from the inside. Marshall is definitely a prospect worth getting excited about, even if there is some development to be desired.

As you expect from most top prospects, Marshall plays on both offense and special teams as well as defense. His tight end highlights are what you would expect with his frame and athleticism, but the more impressive thing is his ability to block kicks and punts. There aren’t many defensive linemen nationally who have the burst and coordination to get their hands on the ball, but Williams can do it frequently. There’s likely a role for him in that sense at Michigan, but it really goes to show exactly how athletic and talented Marshall is.

The first step for Marshall once he gets on campus is obviously to start the transition to being an outside defender. That means upgrading his pass rusher arsenal, understanding how to set an edge, and making sure that he can bend around tackle when rushing the passer. All of these things are very achievable, especially with his tools, but it might take a year or two before he is able to see the field meaningfully in Ann Arbor.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire