There are many excuses for athletes to miss an occasional game or practice, but Christian Marshall never used any of them.
“He is a great kid,” Princeton head coach Randy Peek said. “I didn’t realize it until the middle of the season that starting in second grade all the way to his senior year he never missed a practice, never missed a game.”
Expect that streak to continue, as Marshall plays next at Glenville State, having signed a letter of intent during ceremony at Princeton on Wednesday afternoon.
Call it a culmination of a dream.
“Always. I was in the sixth grade, and I always thought I was pretty good and I could play D-I,” Marshall said. “I came to reality, but D-2 is amazing, and it will be an honor and a privilege to play at Glenville State College and I thank them for the opportunity.”
He has earned it.
“At Glenville State that is what you are getting,” Peek said. “You are getting somebody consistent, he is going to work hard and he is going to surprise them, he really is.
“He is going to work until he earns a starting position.”
A three-year starter at Princeton, the 5-foot-11, 270-pound Marshall has thrived with the Tigers, with Peek calling him one of the best centers in the Mountain State over the last two seasons.
“He did a great job for us for two years,” Peek said. “He is a three-year starter for Princeton Senior High School so he has been in the trenches, he has been the best of West Virginia.”
It wasn’t football that first took Marshall to Glenville State. Marshall is an avid weightlifter, one of the best in the state during his tenure at Princeton, and that is when he first caught the eye of Pioneers’ strength and conditioning and offensive line coach Adam Adkins.
“Actually I had gone up there for a state weight-lifting meet and I ran into Coach Adkins,” Marshall said. “I talked to him and he said to stay in contact with us and thank God I did.”
Marshall has been an undisputed team leader for Princeton, which went through a coaching change prior to his junior season. He will take what he has learned with the Tigers in his next step in life.
“Discipline, respect,” Marshall said. “Not only the football fundamentals, but Coach Peek and the other coaches have taught us so much about the real world and life, respect and responsibility.”
Peek expects Marshall to continue those principles for the Pioneers, who were 6-5 in their first season in the Mountain East Conference last fall.
“Football coaches loves kids that like the weight room,” Peek said. “Obviously just because you are a weight-lifter doesn’t make you a football player, but he has the ingredients to play. I don’t know if it will be two years down the road or this year or when, he will play.”
Hopefully sooner rather than later.
“I am going to go in there and do my best,” Marshall said. “If they redshirt me they redshirt me, and if I play I play...
“I am looking forward to it, they kind of stole me out of Concord’s back yard and I am excited to play.”
Going to Glenville can be culture shock, a small community much smaller than Princeton, but Marshall is excited for the change.
“That is all right for me,” said Marshall, who will major in criminal justice and minor in natural resources.
“They have a lot of woodlands and a lot of lakes and a lot of creeks and that is enough for me to hunt and fish.
“It is real community, that is fine with me, I would like to get to know everybody there.”
Peek sees only success ahead for him.
“He won’t miss a beat,” Peek said. “He will fit right in up there and he will be one of the hardest working kids they will ever have.”
As for Concord, the Mountain Lions were never in the hunt for Marshall’s services. Marshall is anxious for his Pioneers to face Concord on the gridiron in the future.
“I haven’t really contacted Concord and they haven’t contacted me, but that is all right,” Marshall said. “I am going to the place that I have wanted to go forever.
“I will be extremely excited for that game, coming home and seeing my family,” he added, with a smile, “and watch us stomp them.”