Iman Marshall has a case to make as the best cornerback in the 2015 recruiting class. The Long Beach (Calif.) Poly prospect is rated among the top four players at his position across the four major recruiting sites.
As of early February, Scout and 247sports are the most bullish. The former ranks Marshall as the No. 2 cornerback in his class, behind Kendall Sheffield out of Texas, and the No. 6 prospect overall. At 247sports, Marshall is the No. 2 cornerback and No. 12 prospect. Rivals ranks him as fourth-best cornerback, and the 10th-best prospect. ESPN has Marshall much further down as the No. 41 player in the country, but he is still the No. 4 player at his position.
Unsurprisingly, several big-time school have already extended offers to the 6'1, 190-pound defensive back. USC, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Alabama, UCLA, Stanford, Michigan, Oregon and Florida State are among the suitors on Marshall's impressive offer sheet as of February.
You can follow Marshall on Twitter @ImanMarshall
Derrell Warren, West Coast Recruiting Analyst (@yssd): Marshall has been one of the premier cornerbacks on the West Coast since his sophomore year. He might be the best defensive back to come from the storied Long Beach Poly program since Donovan Warren.
Carrying size that would be considered nearly ideal for a high school safety, Marshall is a huge framed corner. Nicknamed "Biggie", it should come as a surprise that he figures to be able to work himself into the 205-210 pound range once he's a high level strength and conditioning program at the next level. Physically, he bears a resemblance to current Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr.
One of the primary traits that makes Marshall such a coveted recruit is his unique blend of physicality and movement skills for his size. This allows him to have the versatility in coverage to match the physicality of bigger receiver receivers and to mirror smaller, more explosive ones.
At first glance, one would assume that Marshall to be strictly a press-corner. However, his quick feet and fluid hips allow him to thrive in off-man situations as well. Marshall carries very good reactive quickness. He's able to recognize routes, transition cleanly out of backpedal and drive on routes just as a receiver comes out of their stem. His lateral suddenness allows to him to stay attached to pass catchers and not get beaten at the break point of routes.
While Marshall locates the ball in the air well, I would like to see him make better adjustments to put himself in better position to come down with interceptions.
Marshall doesn't always gain full extension when jamming. He seems to be more reliant on strength than technique. Though he does keep his head over his feet, and does a nice job mirroring receivers out of their release.
His aggressive nature in coverage tends to give separation on double moves. He does, however, show the recovery speed to get back on the hip of receivers if initially beaten out of the break.
While he isn't necessarily "grabby," Marshall does have a tendency to keep his hands on the receiver beyond the five yards allowed. Much of that seems to be due to him being a bit late to jam receivers at the line at times & therefore extending the process of re-routing them past that five yard barrier.
Ultimately, Marshall projects as a multi-year starter with true NFL upside. At this stage his profiles as more of a physical lock-down corner than one who will generate a ton of turnovers.