The Tar Heels will be gaining four big-time recruits in 2013. All four are in the midfield, and here at Keepingitheel we’ve already taken a look at two of them. Marco Sunol is the wide man capable of beating a man at will. Colton Storm is the marshaling force in front of the defense, a man who’ll hound out the ball and get the attack moving. Warren Marshall is very much the complement for Storm.
Like Sunol and last year’s breakout Danny Garcia, Warren Marshall is a “combo forward”, meaning that he can play either in the midfield or in the front line. He’s a creative force, but his reputation as a scoring maven earns him eligibility to join the 3 attackers in the Carolina formation. He’s such a potent attacking force that he earns the respect and attention of any opponent, and making the mistake of leaving him unmarked can often result in conceding a goal, whether by his hand (or rather, foot) or by that of one of his teammates.
Why is this the case? Marshall is seemingly always involved in his team’s scoring. ESPN has kindly tabulated that in high school competition in 2012 he was directly responsible for 52 of his high school team West Forsyth’s 62 goals. Those are just the goals he got either of the two last touches on. There’s no doubt that there are more uncounted for which his move broke the defense, but someone else was credited with the goal or the assist.
And that’s just high school competition. He’s also playing with fellow future Tar Heel Marco Sunol at NC Fusion. They’ve combined a number of times this year to score, and their already- established chemistry will invaluable next season. Even for the most talented players it’s hard to make the switch to college play, but few players of any talent level have the opportunity to jump into a college team with a teammate to come with them.
He’s also shown at times that he can ably perform his defensive duties. Just as Colton Storm is brilliant without possession but too good with the ball to count out as an attacker, Marshall is brilliant orchestrating the attack but too good defensively to be neglectful of the back line. Complementary players are the key to a great team. Every wing combination works best a creator and a pacy slasher, and the midfield is most effective when there is an enforcer who can bring the ball forward and a maestro who can win the ball back when his teammates lose it.
Even with the depth the Tar Heels already have in midfield, we can expect Marshall to be a big part of the UNC Midfield next year. His attacking ability and chemistry with Sunol will allow him to be highly effective, and it’s blue chip recruits like him who make championship caliber teams.