When Clemson and Georgia open their 2013 and 2014 seasons against each other – first at Death Valley and then at Athens – there are strong indications that Keith Marshall, this year’s No. 1-rated high school running back, will be playing a key role in someone’s backfield plans.
The answer of whether Marshall will be wearing Clemson orange or Georgia red and black will be answered this afternoon when Marshall reveals his college choice at Millbrook High School in Raleigh, NC.
Georgia has long been considered the team to beat for Marshall’s services, and according the Raleigh News & Observer, he’ll be revealing his choice today from among Clemson, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.
Clemson has come on strong in recent weeks, and perhaps even stronger in the aftermath of the Tigers’ ACC championship-winning rout of Virginia Tech in Charlotte on Saturday.
Marshall altered his personal recruiting timetable to include an official visit to Clemson in November, and since then the Tigers have emerged as the top challenger to Georgia.
A blog today in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has Georgia fans on edge, with speculation that Clemson is a far stronger contender for Marshall than had been previously thought.
“It would be a recruiting nightmare for the Bulldogs,” wrote the AJC’s Michael Carvell. “Even the idea that the nation’s No. 1 RB is seriously considering alternatives ignites panic attacks among masses of UGA supporters. Marshall is the “make-it-or-break” recruit for UGA’s 2012 class. The speedster from Raleigh, N.C., is the guy that the Bulldogs have to get. Why is that? Because of ongoing RB problems and an emergency-level lack of depth (we’re talking fire alarms, folks) at the place once proudly known as “Tailback U.”
The AJC quoted 247Sports.com recruiting analyst Rusty Mansell saying that “all indications are that Clemson is a serious player… and it sounds like it will be Georgia or Clemson on Tuesday. Right now, I don’t think anybody will know for sure what Keith Marshall will do until he announces it.”
Georgia coaches met with Marshall on Sunday, but Clemson’s coaches reportedly got the last in-person visit on Monday.
Denise Marshall, Keith’s mother, told recruiting analyst Phil Kornblut that some of Clemson’s coaches met with her son on Monday, and 247Sports.com is also reporting that Clemson was the final school to get an in-person audience with Marshall before his decision.
According to the News & Observer, Marshall – who has kept a low profile throughout the recruiting process – informed his mother of his decision Monday night.
"A lot has gone into this so Keith has had to learn a whole lot about decision making," Denise Marshall told the News & Observer. “At this point he can’t make a wrong move. We’re extremely proud of him.”
Marshall rushed for nearly 1,900 yards and 25 touchdowns this fall for Millbrook. It was his third straight thousand-yard season.
Marshall is expected to make his announcement at approximately 2:45 p.m. today.