Southfield's Marshall Has More History-Making in Mind as Senior Season Revs Up

By Keith Dunlap
Special for

August 31, 2023

SOUTHFIELD – No matter what Southfield Arts & Technology senior quarterback Isaiah Marshall accomplishes from here on out in football, he can claim one distinction not even many all-time greats have achieved.

Greater DetroitWhen Marshall was in seventh grade, he got a college scholarship offer from a Power 5 college program.

Yes, you read that correctly. He was in seventh grade.

While University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was at the school to scout another player from Southfield A&T at the time, Marshall’s father Brian and uncle Aaron gave Harbaugh a tape of Isaiah’s highlights up through his seventh-grade year.

That was good enough for Harbaugh, who offered Marshall a scholarship then despite his youth.

“I was surprised because getting an offer wasn’t on my mind when I was in seventh grade,” Marshall said.

So, that was the beginning point of Marshall’s courtship to play college football. It hasn’t stopped since, and now the question is whether it will continue all the way up to signing day in December.

Starting his last year of high school, Marshall – also known as “Zeke” – has established himself as arguably the best quarterback in the history of any Southfield program, and certainly one of the best dual-threat signal callers in the state.

Marshall might be committed to Kansas and plans to enroll in January after this Southfield A&T semester is done, but odds are good that won’t stop other programs from continuing to pursue him, especially if he has the big senior season many expect.

“There are still some coaches that talk to the head coach of my school,” he said. “But I personally haven’t talked to any.”

Marshall (97) works with his offense during a practice earlier this month.Last year as a junior, Marshall threw for 2,571 yards and 27 touchdowns and ran for 1,065 yards and 18 scores as Southfield A&T finished 8-3 and won the Oakland Activities Association White championship.

Marshall’s coach is his uncle, Aaron Marshall, who obviously could see seeds of greatness being planted in his nephew from a young age.

“As he grew up and grew older and training him, he really kind of embraced everything,” Aaron Marshall said. “He was always a really good listener. He was always mild-mannered (and) had signs of someone who wanted to do something, not really being forced to do it. As a kid, you definitely saw some foreshadowing that he had something special because of his focus and attention at such a young age.”

His senior year got off to a great start Saturday, when he went 15 of 25 for 210 yards and three touchdowns passing and rushed for 80 yards and the game-winning score in a 29-27 Southfield A&T win over Detroit Cass Tech.

Marshall rushed for the clinching touchdown with 54 seconds remaining, a 16-yard scamper to the end zone on a 4th-and-5 play.

“If I have a hole, I’m going to take it,” Isaiah Marshall said. “Just like that last play when I scored, I told myself that if I had a hole, I was going to take it.”

While he is a major problem for defenses when he runs, Marshall is actually trying to improve his ability as a pocket passer this year as he prepares for college.

“Just staying in the pocket more, staying balanced, staying consistent and making great reads,” he said. “I’ve tried to do less (running) and try to get the ball to my receivers more. But at the end of the day, I’m going to try and do what I have to in order to help my team win.”

Marshall, the son of past Northwestern University player and Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice standout Brian Marshall, has grown up around Southfield A&T football – Brian is among Aaron Marshall's assistants – and has seen many good teams and future college players come through the program. 

But the Warriors have never advanced to a state championship game, and making program history is obviously a major motivation.

“We have 29 seniors, so I think that’s a big part of what we can do this year,” he said.

Given how he’s watched Isaiah grow up physically and in the game, Aaron Marshall knows if anyone can lead the Warriors to history, it’s his nephew.

“He’s even more vocal now as a senior,” he said. “Kids really latch on to him because of his work ethic. He wants the best for everybody, and he’s such a team guy. When he speaks, they really pay attention.”

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties

PHOTOS (Top) Isaiah Marshall (red jersey) is off to another fast start as a senior this fall for Southfield A&T. (Middle) Marshall (97) works with his offense during a practice earlier this month. (Photos by Ricardo Thornton/RT Studios.)

Performance of the Week: Gladwin's Jhace Massey

September 22, 2023

Jhace MasseyJhace Massey ♦ Gladwin
Senior ♦ Football

Massey, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound starting receiver for the reigning Division 5 champion, moved to quarterback after the team’s starter and top backup were injured against rival Clare on Friday. He went on to run 18 times for 183 yards and three touchdowns, throw for 61 yards and two scores and snag a fourth-quarter interception to help land the Flying Gs a 44-28 victory after they’d trailed 21-3.

The win put Gladwin in first place alone in the Jack Pine Conference halfway through the league schedule. The Flying Gs entered the game ranked No. 4 in Division 5 by the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association, and Clare was ranked No. 8 in Division 6. Although football has become his favorite sport, Massey also is a top contributor on the basketball team and ran primarily the 100 and 200 meters and on relays during track season in the spring.

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@mhsaasports 🏈 POW: Jhace Massey #tiktalk #questiontime #part2 #mcdonalds #gymclass #stephcurry30 #tacotuesday #thumbsup #performanceoftheweek #mistudentaid #fyp #MHSAA ♬ original sound - MHSAA

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

Past 2023-24 Honorees

Sept. 15: Kaylee Draper, Sturgis swimming - Report
Sept. 8:
Owen Jackson, Traverse City St. Francis tennis - Report
Sept. 1:
Rachel Forsyth, Ann Arbor Pioneer cross country - Report

(Top photo by Mike Kolleth. Headshot provided by the Gladwin football program.)