Now, though, after an impressive senior campaign, Marshall is moving on to the next level, having signed earlier this spring to attend the University of the Cumberlands.
The 6-foot-2, 310-pound senior center was part of an offensive line that garnered plenty of preseason attention in 2007 and helped the Redskins to an 8-4 finish in their final season. Cumberland advanced to the district championship before falling to eventual state semifinalist Hazard 33-27.
“William probably made his biggest stride between his junior and senior year,” Cumberland coach Jon Reynolds said. “He got involved in the weightroom during that time period, which I think helped him tremendously. He got a lot stronger — and he was a big kid already, so I think size played a factor, too.
“He’s a well-rounded individual. He has good morals, great character, a great work ethic — he’s the type of kid anybody would want.”
Marshall said a recent campus visit convinced him to sign with Cumberlands.
“When I first arrived for my campus visit, I liked the campus,” he said. “I had a good feeling about it — I thought, ‘This is a place I like. I might want to come to school here.’ They had the major (business) I want, too.
“After seeing what their football program had done, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is a nice place. I’m going to try to come here.’”
While Marshall primarily played center in high school, Reynolds said other line positions may not be out of the question for him at Cumberlands.
“I don’t know if he’ll be a center, or if they’ll move him to tackle,” he said. “He could even play guard if they don’t pull a lot.”
The coach noted that, as with most high school linemen making the leap to college, improved footwork will be a key for Marshall.
“His footwork is the biggest thing he needs to work on,” he said. “Shuttle runs, 40 times, vertical times, plyometrics — anything that’s got to do with foot movement, that’s what he needs to do. That will increase his chances of playing time.
“William’s only limited by William,” Reynolds said. “If he continues to improve in college like he did between his junior and senior years, I think he can help them tremendously.”
Marshall plans to do just that.
“I’m going to try my hardest to get stronger, faster, to be a better football player,” he said.
The Patriots went 8-3 last season, 4-1 in Mid-South Conference play, and reached the NAIA playoffs.
Marshall said Cumberlands features a balanced offensive attack and noted that increased pass blocking will be an adjustment after blocking for the run-oriented Redskins throughout his high school career.
“It is (a little different), but if I work on my footwork, I should fall pretty easily into that,” he said.