Middletown (Ohio) star quarterback Jalin Marshall says his love for the game was instant from the moment he first stepped on the field at age six.
“I liked the adrenaline rush,” Marshall says. “And the fact that you could hit other people.”
Marshall says he was never one to be intimidated by the speed or intensity of the game either, not even as he entered high school and immediately practiced with varsity.
Teaming up with the self-described grown men made Marshall all the more motivated.
“I came in with a chip on my shoulder because I felt I had to prove that I could play,” he says.
And that he’s done for the past few seasons. When Middletown’s quarterback got injured during Marshall’s sophomore season, he stepped into the role and has held down the starting spot ever since.
Marshall developed into a four-star recruit, as rated by Rivals, and was selected to play in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 4 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
With his dream finally coming to fruition, Marshall told us what’s helped him achieve it.
What did football mean to you four years ago versus now?
Marshall: My ultimate athletic goal is to be a professional athlete, and why I played when I was younger versus now is still the same. Football is my life. Without football, I’d be a different person. I wouldn’t be able to relax. I’d have a lot of stress built up, and I’d have to take it out somewhere else.
Tell us about your development. Who has most contributed to shaping you?
My dad. Since I was little, he has always pushed me hard so I could be the best at anything Even though I’d get mad, he’s still push me to do it, and it has paid off in the end.
Starting in fifth grade, he used to train me in the backyard. I’d use a speed ladder and run back and forth doing different drills to help develop my skills and keep my feet quick and react better.
What about your coach? How has he influenced you?
Throughout the years, he has helped me stay level and always keep the team first. He’s had a great impact in making sure I do stuff for others before myself.
What’s one adjustment you’ve made over the years to better yourself for football?
I eat better. I’ve realized that when you get older, you have to stay away from soda and candy and things like that. If you put bad things in your body, you get a bad performance out of it.
Reflecting on your growth over the years, what would you tell a younger version of yourself?
I’d say slow down and be more relaxed on the field. Don’t try to do it all at once. Sometimes I’d try to get a touchdown every time I touched the ball. You have to feel the game out first and see how everything is going.