Photo by Stephen Carr
Long Beach Poly and USC alum Iman “Biggie” Marshall has been known for big moments his entire football career. Whether it was a game-winning pass-breakup against Corona Centennial or a huge hit against Crespi in the playoffs, Marshall has always shown up in the biggest moments. That’s why it’s so ironic that the All-American defensive back missed the biggest moment of his young career. Marshall was selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, but he wasn’t glued to the TV when it happened.
“I couldn’t watch it, it was too stressful for me,” laughed Marshall on Saturday afternoon. “I was trying to go see Avengers to take my mind off it but I couldn’t concentrate on the movie. I was actually walking around the Lakewood Mall, man. My head was spinning the whole day.”
Marshall’s mother had the television glued to ESPN and called him to tell him he’d achieved his life dream of having his name called in the NFL Draft. Marshall fielded the phone call outside the T-Mobile store in the Lakewood Mall.
“It’s a dream come true after all that hard work,” he said. “I was numb at first, it’s surreal to me. It still doesn’t feel real.”
After his mom called, Marshall quickly heard from the Ravens, speaking with the front office, head coach John Harbaugh, and the team’s defensive backs and special teams coaches. “They asked me if I want to be a part of greatness and I said, ‘That’s what I live for,’” said Marshall.
The itinerary gets tight now, as Marshall will fly out to Baltimore on Wednesday for rookie minicamp and begin the process of becoming an NFL player. He certainly won’t be alone. There were seven Long Beach Poly products in the NFL last year, including his former Poly and USC teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has grown into a star on the Ravens’ rival Steelers and was a Pro Bowl honoree in 2018.
“I was thinking about that, I’m going to be playing against JuJu twice a year,” said Marshall. “That’s a blessing–he’s set the foundation for what we can do in the league.”
Marshall will join Serra product and Compton native Jordan Lasley in Baltimore, a player he’s known since youth football.
“We got something special going on out here Big, we’re cut from the same cloth and I just wanna congratulate you and let you know I’m proud of you,” tweeted Lasley. “Compton and Long Beach together, now you know you’re in trouble.”
Marshall joins the ever-growing fraternity of Poly alums to make it to the league, and will become one of more than 70 former Jackrabbits to collect an NFL paycheck, most of any high school in America. Marshall also becomes the 20th Jackrabbit to go from Poly to USC to the NFL, continuing the historically successful pipeline.
Marshall’s parents are soaking up his success, but he said he’s not ready to yet.
“My parents were crying, yelling, screaming, I couldn’t even get any yelling and screaming in with them,” said Marshall. “It’s just a blessing, but I only have my foot in the door. Now it’s for me to maximize what I do with the opportunity. It still hasn’t hit me and I haven’t really officially made it yet. Once I see the jersey with my name on it I think that will be a moment. But right now it’s just time to grind–it’s really go time.”