Ever since Braeden Marshall’s visit to Pitt last October, getting to watch Pitt knock off Clemson at Heinz Field, he’s felt like Pitt has stood out. But the connection between the 2023 four-star cornerback and Pitt goes back even further.
“(Pitt was) my second offer, second offer out of 32, and they never hopped off the load,” Marshall told PSN. “They kept recruiting me. It seemed like they kept getting harder and harder on me, and they’ve just sent the love since Day 1. Going up to the game and seeing the game-day atmosphere when they played Clemson, it was a good first impression. That’s what separated them from a lot of schools.”
Marshall, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound cornerback from Lake Mary High School in Florida, named Pitt to his Top 10 last week, announced his June 16 official visit to Pitt Monday and holds Pitt among his top contenders.
“I feel like they’re really a team I can see myself playing at,” Marshall said. “I feel like I fit as a player and I fit in their system, scheme-wise, and the education side is bright as well. I feel like I’d get the whole package.”
With a Top 10 of Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee, Clemson, Penn State, Miami, Wisconsin, Nebraska, UCF and Pitt, it’s clear now that Marshall is further narrowing down his true finalists.
“(Pitt is) in my Top 5, no doubt about it,” Marshall said. “I feel like they have the whole package for me. And that’s why I’m taking them as an official.”
With a bond built with Pitt tight ends coach Tim Salem, Marshall has built an even stronger relationship with secondary coach Archie Collins and safeties coach Cory Sanders during his recruiting process, and Marshall likes what he’s heard about his potential fit in the defensive system.
“(Collins and Sanders) love how I can play man-to-man,” Marshall. “Especially with Pitt, they play a lot of man, and hearing that means a lot to me. Especially for that program. They feel like I can fit in that system very well.”
As an integral defensive back on Lake Mary’s 10-2 season that advanced to the FHSAA Class-8A regional semifinals as a junior, Marshall recorded 28 tackles (13 solo), two tackles for loss, a team-high four interceptions and 11 passes defended. A quick-twitch and speedy, yet extremely physical athlete, he’s exactly what Pitt looks for in its cornerbacks.
Marshall’s recruiting process is still far from over, with a handful of top contenders gunning for his signature, but with an official visit now scheduled, that’s a big step in not only securing top contender status but gaining an additional opportunity for Pitt to roll out the red carpet for a top recruit. And Marshall knows exactly what he wants to see.
“For the official, I really want to hang out with the players, see how they feel about it,” Marshall said. “See more of the campus, I got to see some of the campus (on my first visit), but getting to see more of the campus makes me feel better. Also getting to spend time with the coaches in person.”
Aside from Pitt, Marshall already has a June 24 official visit scheduled for North Carolina. And while there isn’t anything set in stone, he plans on making an official visit to either Nebraska or Wisconsin — with Clemson in the plans too. And after originally having a Penn State visit scheduled for June 17, which has changed to Pitt’s official visit date, he’s no longer considering an official visit to PSU now.
247Sports rates Marshall as the 358th-ranked recruit in the class (39th-ranked cornerback and the 70th-ranked recruit from Florida) while Rivals rates him as the 36th-ranked cornerback and the 54th-ranked recruit from Florida.
With Pitt’s penchant for securing a multitude of defensive backs in every class, and worrying about potential fit in the defensive system once the recruits arrive on campus, Marshall would be an excellent addition to the defensive secondary. And with Pitt’s defensive fit, official visit status and academic record — an important step for a recruit who comes from a very educated family, he said — Pitt is in good shape.
Along with Marshall, three-star athlete Rasheem Biles (Pickerington, Ohio), three-star athlete Kahlil Ali (Pennsauken, New Jersey), three-star offensive lineman Zachary Aamland (Princeton, New Jersey) and running back Montravius Lloyd (St. Petersburg, Florida) will be making June 16 visits to Pitt.