10 Jackrabbits sign LOI

Signing Day 2015: Iman Marshall picks USC, decision highlights big day in Long Beach

National signing day is always a holiday of sorts in the high school sports world, and it was no different in Long Beach this year. The biggest festivities were at Long Beach Poly, where the Jackrabbits had 10 signees, including All-American defender Iman “Biggie” Marshall and Joseph Wicker, both of whom made their commitments live on ESPN.

In front of a packed crowd in the Poly library, Marshall chose USC, and Wicker surprised some pundits by selecting Arizona State.

Marshall, who was the top defensive back in high school this year and the No. 4 overall player as ranked by ESPN, made the announcement surrounded by his friends and family. Simultaneous to the ESPN broadcast, Bleacher Report posted a video they produced with Marshall that showed him donning a USC hat as he walked towards the Coliseum.

“Willie McGinest, Mark Carrier, Darrel Rideaux, JuJu Smith—the Long Beach Poly to USC pipeline is back,” said Marshall after the ceremony. “We’re going to make history at USC just like we did at Poly.”

Marshall said his final three schools were Michigan and Florida State, along with USC, but ultimately the allure of the Trojans was too great.

“I knew he’d take pride in staying local and trying to bring that program back,” said Poly head coach Antonio Pierce.

Marshall agreed that the recent struggles of USC almost made him more likely to select the Trojans. “That’s a lifelong dream, and to help get USC back to the top is amazing,” he said. He also wasn’t shy about predicting success. “I’m making a guarantee that we’re going to win a national championship.”

Wicker’s decision to go to ASU surprised some, which Wicker seemed almost offended by. “I know because I’m a Poly guy people assume I like all the glamor, but I’m really not like that,” he said. “I love that coach (Todd Graham) is a hard-nosed guy, he really pushed me and he’ll challenge me. I prefer that because I know it’ll bring the most out of me.”

In addition, Colin Samuel stayed firm in his commitment to UCLA, and several other Jackrabbits made their decisions on Wednesday. Twin brothers Jeremy and Justin Calhoun elected to go to Montana as a package deal, Kanya Bell chose San Jose State, Johnnie Rucker chose Sacramento State, Kitu Humphrey chose Cal Poly, Omari Lyles selected Humboldt State, and Chris Taliu will attend Lindenwood.

By Mike Guardabascio

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