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"The Path to the Pros" featuring Cameron Marshall

After an illustrious career as a Sun Devil, Cameron Marshall is trying to become a successful contributor at the next level with the Miami Dolphins.

Cameron Marshall tied a school record with 18 rushing touchdowns in 2011.
Cameron Marshall tied a school record with 18 rushing touchdowns in 2011.
Christian Petersen

For most Arizona State seniors, finishing their careers with a Territorial Cup victory and a bowl game win was an exciting ending to their final season.

For running back Cameron Marshall, capping off his legacy with a two-touchdown performance in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl was the perfect way to say goodbye.

After rushing for 36 touchdowns in his four seasons in Tempe, Marshall added two more to his final tally in front of family and friends back home in the Bay Area.

The San Jose native's 38 rushing touchdowns are second only to Woody Green's ASU record of 43, while his 18 scores on the ground in 2011 tied the single-season school record.

Marshall has found success at every level of football he's competed at, so it's logical to assume that the Sun Devil great will thrive in the pros.

However, the 5-foot-11 back admits that garnering attention from NFL scouts leading up to the draft was difficult. After showcasing his skill set at the college level, Marshall said that he and his agent didn't communicate with a lot of teams.

"I didn't talk to many teams leading up to the draft," Marshall said. "My agent said he talked to a few teams from time to time and he would give me updates, but they would mostly just call me to see if they had correct information."

Instead of worrying about the draft, Marshall simply prepared himself to impress any team that would reach out to him. Marshall returned home to train with his father, and he followed an intense regimen to get back in shape.

"It's well documented that he (Marshall's father) trained me, my brother, and my sister," Marshall said. "I feel like he knew my body the best and he allowed me to be in peak shape heading into the draft."

Despite coming from a background that included elite training (Marshall's father Greg has trained professional athletes for years), Marshall still couldn't get many teams to bite. Regardless, Marshall did receive meaningful interest from a pair of well-respected organizations in the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots.

After being passed on in the NFL Draft, Marshall was also contacted by the Miami Dolphins who wanted to know if he had any interest in becoming a Dolphin.

"I would say it took 20 to 30 minutes for them to contact me (after the draft)," Marshall said of the Dolphins.

While Pittsburgh was still hot on signing him, Marshall decided to take his talents to South Beach.

"Pittsburgh called during the draft and asked if I wanted to be a Steeler if I didn't get drafted," Marshall said. "I wanted to talk it over with my agent and see what he thought and after Miami called, we negotiated and decided Miami was the place for me."

Many undrafted free agents bounce from team to team and struggle to latch on, but Marshall is unique in that he is a proven commodity. At times, Marshall tore apart Pac-12 defenses and he is holding out hope that he can find a home in Miami.

"I don't doubt my skill set and I know I'm playing with a bunch of great athletes, but I think I have as good a chance as anybody," Marshall said.

Fortunately for Marshall, the Dolphins are in dire need of help in the backfield. With Reggie Bush's departure, Miami's top returning rusher is Daniel Thomas. Thomas rushed for just 325 yards last season, and averaged a modest 3.6 yards per carry.

The Dolphins did select Florida running back Mike Gillislee in the fifth round, but Marshall's college numbers are far more impressive. Furthermore, Marshall's rushing statistics only tell part of his story, as the Arizona State coaching staff raved about his pass-catching and pass-blocking abilities.

"I just know that I can be a complete back," Marshall said. "I'm very capable of being an every down back and have the skill set to do so. I think I can be effective inside the 10 and just as effective at the 50-yard line."

So far, Marshall has had an opportunity to demonstrate his skills at rookie camp and offseason workouts. Fortunately, the pace hasn't been too rigorous, as he says his time under Todd Graham helped him adjust to a faster practice tempo.

"The practice tempo is pretty similar," Marshall said. "They like to practice fast-paced and bounce from drill to drill. I like the fact that I'm prepared for that."

Another aspect of Marshall's game that can help separate him from his competition is his football IQ. At Arizona State, Marshall learned a few different offenses and he says the transition to the Dolphins' playbook has been relatively smooth.

"I've got a pretty good grasp of all the plays and all the possibilities and now it's just making it second nature," Marshall said. "It hasn't been a huge challenge for me. "

Of course, Sun Devil fans will miss their beloved running back who played a significant role in shaping the Arizona State offense over the last four seasons.

The Dolphins will enjoy Marshall's wide variety of skills as Sun Devil fans did, and hopefully he can carve out a roster spot. Regardless of how things end up, Marshall vows that he will never forget the support he received at Arizona State.

"I'm a Sun Devil for life and I'm always going to pay attention to the program," Marshall said. "I'm excited for their opportunities this year."

While Marshall will be keeping close tabs on his former teammates, they too will watch with pride as one of their own tries to make it at the next level.