Marshall's big hit
Mountain Pointe's Izzy Marshall wraps up Dobson's T.J. Thomas during their first game for season at Mountain Pointe High School. Darryl Webb, Special to The Ahwatukee Foothills News

At the time Izzy Marshall was more concerned with his older, disappointed teammates than what was in store for him.

Now that those players are gone, the Mountain Pointe senior linebacker wants no part of enduring a similar feeling of frustration the team dealt with after last season's Class 5A Division I state semifinals to Mesa.

"When we were walking off the field I was thinking about the seniors instead of the future," Marshall said in the preseason. "I felt bad for them. We got so close and it was over just like that.

"Now that I am a senior I don't want to have that feeling."

If last week's season opener, a 58-0 drilling of Mesa Dobson, is any indication the Pride, which plays at Gilbert Highland on Friday night, could very well be in the mix of the 5A-I postseason contenders again and a big reason why is Marshall.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound linebacker is one of the team leaders and is being pursued by the Arizona schools along with programs like Boise State, Colorado State and Northern Colorado.

The recruiters are seeing potential more than anything considering Marshall missed all of his sophomore year due to a torn meniscus in his left knee sustained during basketball and began last season as the team's starting strong safety.

Marshall was moved to outside linebacker after Week 1 and is playing inside this season.

That's two position changes and one missed season heading into his senior campaign.

Despite all of that, websites like have Marshall ranked as the top senior linebacker recruit in the state.

"Izzy's best football is in front of him," said Jason Jewell,'s Southwest recruiting analyst. "He is a long and rangy prospect that covers a lot of ground. He plays fast and is always around the ball."

Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan is just as impressed with Marshall's makeup.

"He is a real mature, serious type," Vaughan said. "He is a leader of the team and grounded pretty good."

To give an idea of how grounded Marshall is let him explain why he changed his uniform number from No. 12 to No. 8.

"I did it for Marques Griffin," Marshall said of the graduated backup player. "I know his senior season didn't go the way he wanted so I wanted to wear his number for him."

And to take it a step further there is the humbleness.

Marshall saw the linebacker rankings; he just didn't feel worthy of the lofty grade.

"It means a lot to me, but I haven't done anything yet," said Marshall, who had 53 tackles, including 45 solo, and a sack last season. "I haven't earned it. Last year was kind of awkward because I didn't know what I was doing at first. I was just reacting, but I got comfortable and now I am ready to just play."

Marshall, who averaged 8.0 points a game on the basketball team last season, is just rounding into shape this season after missing most of preseason camp due to a stress fracture in his foot. He didn't play in the preseason scrimmage and didn't get any offensive reps in the win over Dobson.

Offensively, he is the backup quarterback and will see some action carrying the ball once the coaches decided to let him play both sides of the ball.

"It was really frustrating to sit through the practices," said Marshall, who believes he sustained the injury in offseason training. "Part of me just wanted to ask coach to stay home, but knew I had to be there for my guys.

"It was just wear and tear from working too hard. I guess if I knew it would have prevented a loss of practice time I would have backed off (of his training), but I was doing everything I could to make sure I was ready for the season."

Now he is in a position to help the Pride get to the next level.

"After all our seniors left, everyone thought we'd be done with," Marshall said. "We are going to come out a lot more aggressive, strong and I think we can be better.

"It started in the weight room after the season. Everyone wants to make sure we get to (the) state (championship) this time."

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