As if Valley Prospects Need Anymore Reasons...
Collegefootballnews.com is doing their annual boom and bust prospects from the class of 2002. Two prospects standout to Valley football fans, former Edison cornerback Aaron Miller and former Fresno State cornerback Richard Marshall.
Boom: DB Richard Marshall, Fresno State-A two-year starter, Marshall played well enough in the Valley to declare early for the NFL Draft, where he projects as a late first-day selection.
Bust: DB Aaron Miller, Oklahoma/Oregon State- Miller failed to qualify academically, and never played a down for the Sooners. A short stint at Fresno City College preceded a transfer to Oregon State, where he played sparingly in six games last fall.
Miller was a 4 star blue chip recruit out of Edison High School after a stellar senior year in 2001. He took all five of his official visits to BCS schools: UCLA, USC, Michigan, LSU and Oklahoma. Fresno State was never considered out of high school. He narrowed his choices down to three, UCLA, USC, and Oklahoma. He decided to follow in the footsteps of the last NorCal DB to sign with the Sooners, Roy Williams. However, he had a second chance to become a Bulldog.
After not qualifying at Oklahoma, Miller ended up back home at Fresno City College. He showed his potential again he was named all-conference, recorded 68 tackles, and had 6 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns. The recruiting frenzy was on again. This time Fresno State was among his suitors. Miller took only one official, to Oregon State, and turned down Cal, USC and Fresno State. He was expected to help shore up a rebuilding secondary in Corvallis, but as CFN stated, he played very little and was insignificant.
He still has one more year to live up to the hype. The knock I hear on Miller is that he is soft and doesn't like to hit, a la Deion Sanders. But doesn't have the ability to lock down like a Sanders or make big plays. I have not studied much film on him, but did see quite a few of his games at Edison. It is hard to tell against high school competition, but it was evident even in 2001 that junior DBs Clifton Smith and Lorenzo Sims, would be better at the next level.
Marshall on the other hand, was an under the radar 2 star WR/DB playing at Locke HS in L.A. Marshall had an offer from USC, but spurned the Trojans to sign at Fresno State. Huh? Yup, a L.A. kid turns down his hometown Pac 10 power to play in the Valley. The decision paid off. After redshirting in 2002, Marshall eventually became the starter at the end of 2003. After two plus years as a Bulldog starting cornerback, he has become the 6th best cornerback prospect for the upcoming NFL draft.
Now why do Valley kids leave home, but L.A. area kids flock to Fresno? Of the 14 Valley players playing in the NFL, 10 played at Fresno State, and one more wished he had. Ricky Manning supposedly told Hill at the 2003 East-West Shrine game that he should have gone to Fresno State instead of UCLA.