- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
Sophomore Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) is one of a handful of local 2015 standouts with early offers from UCLA, and the defensive back was in attendance for the Bruins' big win over the USC Trojans on Saturday afternoon.
"It was a great experience being out there," Marshall said. "Being around that environment was great. I loved it."
Marshall said he didn't get to spend a lot of time with the UCLA coaches, but he was able to touch base with a few of them after the game. He also checked in with several of the Bruins defensive backs, including former Long Beach Poly standout Randall Goforth, about the environment at UCLA.
The up-close look Marshall received Saturday helped him gain some perspective on the Bruins. He said he used his time there to both take in the atmosphere as well as watch the defense with a critical eye.
"You have to do both," Marshall said. "You want to take it in and be a fan of the game, as well as looking at the X's and O's of how the corners play, the coverages they use and if it's suited for my type of game. You have to be a critical thinker, with the possibility of playing there. They play real big corners at UCLA. I like that because I'm going to be a big corner, so I was really interested in that."
It's safe to say the visit opened Marshall's eyes to the UCLA program.
"It's just one game, so I'm going to keep my options open because I'm still very young in the process," he said. "But I feel it's great for UCLA. It really opened my mind to UCLA. That was a great win over a top-notch team."
UCLA is the only program to offer Marshall at this point, but the 6-foot, 172-pound sophomore said interest is picking up from programs such as Arizona, Florida State and LSU. The upcoming spring and summer periods will likely be big for Marshall's recruitment, but he and his teammates still have work to do this fall, as Poly has a semifinal game this week. It's something of a surprise to see the Jackrabbits still alive in the playoffs, as it took some time for them to come together this season. But Marshall said it hasn't shocked anybody in their locker room.
"We're a young team," he said. "We just matured over the games and our confidence is different from game one to this game. Out defense has been outstanding and we're going to stick together as one, like a family."