AUBURN, Ala. — Coming into the day, Josh Marsh was a little known prospect from north Alabama.
But rest assured, it’s a name SEC fans — especially the ones in Auburn — will soon be quite familiar with.
The unranked outside linebacker from Decatur (Ala.) grew up a fan of the Tigers since he was 3 years old. He’d attended games for years in Jordan-Hare Stadium and always prayed about playing for the Tigers one day. But heading into his senior year, his top offers were from Memphis and Colorado State.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound athlete participated in Auburn’s skills camp and impressed the coaching staff. The Tigers offered.
Marsh didn’t hesitate.
“Right after the camp, one of the assistants, said we were going up to coach (Gus) Malzahn’s office. Nobody really told me. I just thought we were going to go up there to talk. We talked a little bit. He was like, ‘We want to offer you a scholarship.’ I was like OK, ‘Then I want to commit,” Marsh said. “I told him I didn’t really know how it worked out, but I wanted to commit. So I committed, and I’m coming to play ball.”
There came a point during the Friday camp when it became evident Travis Williams, in particular, had seen enough.
Marsh dropped back in coverage to break up a pass. Williams began jumping across the field, charging at Marsh and wrapped his arms around his shoulders, slapping him on the back. Add to that, during testing period, Marsh clocked a 4.43-second 40 time.
Even then, Marsh said he wasn’t holding out hope for an Auburn offer.
“Really, I’m one of those guys who’s hard on myself. Every time I do something, I’m like, ‘OK, I can do better in this.’ I critiqued myself. I really never got a confidence like, ‘OK, this is going to happen.’ It was just one of those things where I was blown away,” Marsh said. “It’s just one of those things that, even if you know, it kinda catches you off guard and blows you away. But I was real caught off guard.”
As a recruit, this wasn’t Marsh’s first time on the Plains.
He visited Auburn in between his freshman and sophomore seasons for a brief visit. He spoke some with Gus Malzahn and then-defensive coordinator Will Muschamp. But he hadn’t come back since then as a recruit because, when he did, he wanted to make sure he was memorable.
“I hadn’t come back since then because I wanted to make sure I was going to really show out. This year, my coach was like, ‘You need to go down there.’ So I came back and re-met everybody because it had been a while,” he said.
Marsh said Auburn has recruiting him as a “defensive prospect.” With his frame, it could go a variety of ways. He has the size and speed to be a linebacker. If he adds the right amount of weight, he could develop into an edge rusher. But he also has the skill set to drop back in coverage.
Simply put, the Tigers just wanted him in the class regardless of position or ranking.
The lifelong Auburn fan is grateful.
“Ever since I was like 3, it was ‘I want to come to Auburn. I want to come to Auburn.’ It’s like a dream come true,” Marsh said. “I’m coming to play wherever they need me. They said, ‘You’ve got speed, you’ve got size, you can move. We just want you as an athlete. … At this point, it’s just mind-blowing. It’s a dream come true.”