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Victor Marshall welcomes change of position for his hometown ‘Hawks
Path To The Pros
Kirkland, Wash. native Victor Marshall has taken an unconventional route toward life in the NFL.
It started at nearby Juanita High School and continued at Arizona's Mesa Community College. From there it was a stint at the University of Idaho followed by a trip north to Canada's Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. Then it was on to private team workouts and several NFL regional scouting combines - most recently as last month at Virginia Mason Athletic Center and again at the Super Regional in Dallas, Texas.
“I've lived here my whole life, so the Seahawks have always been my favorite team,” Marshall said the day after he signed his deal with the club. “That's the biggest thing - not only making it to the NFL, but being able to play for the Seahawks and put on that helmet. It's surreal.”
The Seahawks inked the 6-foot-4, 235-pound product earlier this week as one of just two players to make it out of the 38 tryouts who were invited during last weekend's three-day rookie minicamp. Marshall ran a 4.52-second 40-yard dash during last month’s regional combine at VMAC and that speed was on full display as he saw playing time at tight end throughout the weekend’s workout.
“It's just crazy meeting the guys and being here and practicing with them now,” he said. “I still can't believe this is real and everything. It's crazy.”
Until last weekend, Marshall's competitive football career had been entirely spent at the wide receiver position.
"When I went to minicamp here that was the very first time I've ever done any tight end work or anything like that," Marshall said. "The number one thing that I was trying to do was to soak in as much of the knowledge and coaching I could get."
Marshall isn't the first player that the Seahawks have envisioned at a different position with the hope of maximizing potential returns on that player. Red Bryant has flourished since his 2010 move from defensive tackle to run-stuffing defensive end. Allen Bradford, a running back for head coach Pete Carroll while at USC, made the switch to linebacker for the Seahawks when he was claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2011. Last year's seventh-round draft pick J.R. Sweezy played his college ball on the defensive side of the line, but the team moved him to offensive line at the next level. And 2013 seventh-round draft pick Jared Smith will get the "Sweezy treatment" this year, as the club hopes he too can make the transition from D-line to O-line.
Marshall doesn't mind the switch. He's willing to do whatever it takes to contribute.
"I've dreamed of this moment my whole life," Marshall said. "If that's what they want me to do, then that's where I'm going to go. I feel like it could be nice because I've got the linebackers guarding me, so I can create a mismatch on them with my speed. I'm definitely up for the challenge."
Part of that challenge will be making the cut in a position group that already features veteran tight ends Zach Miller and Anthony McCoy, second-year pros Cooper Helfet and Sean McGrath, as well as 2013 fifth-round draft pick Luke Willson, who also made quite the impression at this year's rookie camp. But Marshall’s blazing speed brings an element that only one other player (Willson) in that position group possesses, and if Carroll’s past camps are any indication, Marshall is going to get every opportunity to compete for a spot on this year’s squad.
“Once I started getting the playbook down it just started being fun again,” Marshall said of his switch to tight end at minicamp. “It started to feel like I was playing football again.”
Pacific Northwest Roots
The football field isn’t the only place where Marshall has flashed his quickness. He also competed in track and finished second in state in the 100m and 200m dash during his senior year at Juanita High School.
It’s safe to say that speed runs in the family for Victor, whose father LaNoris “Cricket” Marshall was an All-American track athlete for the University of Washington Huskies in the early 1980s. The elder Marshall set the UW record in the 200m dash (20.46 seconds) in 1981 – a record that stood for nearly 20 years, and he is still part of the 1983 record-holding 4x100-meter relay team (39.24 seconds).
Victor was also named Class 4-A All-Kingco First Team as a wide receiver during his senior year for the Juanita Rebels. He caught 29 balls in eight games for 633 yards and five touchdowns that year from then-quarterback Bryan Walters – that’s the same Bryan Walters that is now a wide receiver on the Seahawks roster.
“He was always out scrambling like that Michael Vick-type quarterback,” Marshall said of Walters’ quarterback play. “When he got in trouble he pretty much just chucked it up to me. That was pretty much our thing - fades, fades, fades.”
Marshall and Walters have played football together since the fourth grade when they played for the Juanita Steelers. Now, the two are reunited at the NFL level.
"I pretty much just threw the ball up to him a lot," Walters said. "Most plays were just like, 'Hey Victor, go deep!' and I just threw it up and he'd bring it down. He was big and he was fast.
“It’s a lot of fun having him here now.”