Mike Tkach vividly recalls that August afternoon four years ago when he got his first glimpse of Andrew Marshall in the parking lot outside of Briggs Stadium at Milford High.
“He’s massive,” said Tkach, the Buccaneers’ head coach. “I can remember when he came in as a freshman, he came out of this van and I just kind of looked up to heaven where my father was and said, ‘Thank you dad.'”
Marshall was big back then, but now he’s ready to enter his senior season at Milford almost larger than life at 6-foot-6, 370 pounds. He has grown into a Division I college football coach’s dream.
Marshall has received recruiting interest from D-I universities such as Temple and Rutgers, a local school in Delaware State University, and one as far away as San Diego State, among others.
Right now, Marshall says he’s just interested in helping return Milford football back to prominence after going through some lean years since winning the Division II crown in 2008.
The Bucs moved to the Henlopen Conference Northern Division for a couple of seasons after their title run. But this fall, they return to the Southern Division, which consists of the conference’s smaller schools. Milford has gone just 7-23 over its last three seasons.
“I’m really excited for my senior year and I really want to get out there and win the conference,” Marshall said. “The offseason I’ve been working hard being a leader, helping teammates and everything, anything I can do.
“I’m really looking forward to [moving back to Henlopen South] because we’ve had a couple of rough years in the past, but now I think we can really do something good if we keep with it.”
While Marshall says he just wants to be part of a winning team, there will be plenty of recruiters wooing him throughout his senior year.
“It always feels good when there’s people looking at you and following you and telling you they’re interested,” said Marshall. “It just makes you want to work harder.”
Tkach realizes there is a lot on the line for his two-way lineman. While Marshall still has to develop his technique, the physical tools are obviously there.
“He’s 6-6, 370 pounds and the way he moves, he played center for the basketball team, it’s something that a lot of Division I schools like,” Tkach said. “You have a kid who has a lot of natural size and movement, they can do a lot of teaching with him. So he’s got a huge upside.”
Now, Tkach said, it’s up to Marshall to command their attention.
“The offensive line coach from Alabama called last year and was inquiring about [Marshall] and stuff like that, but we haven’t heard anything lately, so it’s up to him to have a good senior year and we’ll just have to see who comes about with the recruiting process,” he said.
Marshall says he gets satisfaction when a running back thanks him for providing a nice big hole to run through and when the Buccaneers’ defense is able to stuff its opposition.
He has been working on his drive block and his footwork throughout the offseason and is ready to get his pivotal year underway.
“My goal is to be an All-State football player and maybe take a shot at winning Lineman of the Year in Delaware,” Marshall said. “But really, I just want my team to be successful. It’s not really all about me.”
To Tkach, Marshall will be able to go as far as his mindset will take him.
“He’s so young, and sometimes that’s his biggest enemy,” Tkach said. “You have that maturity factor and sometimes that gets him in trouble with school as far as sometimes he’s lazy in the classroom, but he just turned 17 [on] August 15 and we were joking about that because, besides my son, he’s probably the only kid on the team that I know his birth date.
“It’s always the first day of football.”