UGA gets huge verbal from Wilcox star Marshall; several Bulldogs, Tigers named preseason All-SEC

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ATHENS -- The Nick Marshall Sweepstakes is over.

And Georgia, surprisingly, is the winner.

Marshall, the two-sport Wilcox County rising senior star in basketball and football who is considered by many to be the No. 1 overall athlete for the class of 2011, declared Tuesday that he was headed to Athens, rather than Georgia Tech -- where he'd been rumored to be leaning -- or Alabama and Florida State, both of whom offered.

The news was first reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Marshall, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 190 pounds, led Wilcox to the Class A state title in football this past season -- the school's first -- while the Patriots' basketball team came up just short in the Final Four. But while Marshall plays quarterback, he plans to switch to defensive back for the Bulldogs and walk on to the basketball team, according to the AJC.

And that is likely music to both football coach Mark Richt and basketball coach Mark Fox's ears, considering the Bulldogs have been on a well-publicized mission to recruit every top prospect in the Peach State before looking anywhere else this offseason.

"This really all came out of the blue," Wilcox County football coach Mark Ledford told the AJC's Chip Towers. "Nick was leaning to Georgia Tech as of late last week. He had a close relationship to Georgia Tech the last month or so. Then out of the blue, coach Richt called and wanted to offer him as a defensive back.

"Nick told me Monday he wanted to commit to Georgia. I said let's talk about it Tuesday and see if you feel the same way. We talked after his workout, and he said he definitely wanted to go to Georgia. I talked to his Mom and explained what that meant. She called coach Richt and committed (Tuesday) night."

While Richt may have stolen one away from Tech and others at the last minute, it's Fox who will likely reap equal benefit from the commitment after picking up Georgia's Mr. Basketball, Marcus Thornton, recently following Thornton's about-face from the letter-of-intent he signed out of high school with Clemson. The Tigers lost their head coach, Oliver Purnell, to DePaul this offseason, prompting Thornton to look elsewhere.

Scout.com ranks Marshall as the ninth-best football player in Georgia, regardless of position, while on the hardwood, he averaged nearly 30 points a game this past season, including a 52-point outing in the state playoffs.