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Marshall heading to Southern Oregon

Ashland is the Rogue Valley's new Boom town.

Boomer Marshall, fresh off a record-shattering career as quarterback of the South Medford Panthers, announced Thursday that he will play college football for Southern Oregon University.

The Southern Oregon Conference player of the year passed for an unofficial SOC-record 3,446 yards and 36 touchdowns to lead the Panthers to the conference championship, the Class 4A state quarterfinals and a 10-2 overall record last fall.

Raiders head coach Jeff Olson is hoping Marshall brings that magic up the hill.

Everything he seems to do in athletics, he just seems to find a way to win and be successful and make everyone around him better, whether in football or basketball, Olson said. He has some intangibles that I don't think you coach.

He may not run the fastest 40 time in America, but there's some things you can't measure. And that's heart, will to win and an ability to perform under pressure. ... In my mind, he's got the whole package.

Marshall, 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, wanted a shot at Division I football. But when no big-time program came knocking with a scholarship offer, Marshall made SOU his choice over a slew of other small West Coast colleges.

Not only do I get a chance to stay at home, but I get the opportunity to join a successful program and hopefully win a national title, said Marshall, well aware of the Raiders' consecutive trips to the NAIA national quarterfinals. And they've got a good education program, which is what I plan to study.

SOU just seemed like it was right for me, the right fit.

Other senior stars of the SOC season past will join Marshall in Ashland.

Among them: defensive player-of-the-year Dan Eubank of Grants Pass, a 6-2, 210-pound linebacker; Thom Whiteaker, a 5-10, 180-pound wide receiver/cornerback from South Medford; Grants Pass' A.J. Schmitke, a 5-10, 180-pound running back; and Shawn Hale, a 5-10, 190-pound kicker from North Medford.

Southern Oregon Conference love right there, said Marshall, whose all-time best career passing numbers at South Medford were 7,302 yards and 69 touchdowns.

The Raiders will release a complete list of their recruiting class of 2003 in mid- to late-March.

In the athletes already in tow, Olson can see the fruits of his staff's labor blossoming quite nicely.

They're the kind of kids that in years past, we may not have been able to get to even come visit, Olson said. When we took over seven years ago, one of our goals was to keep these local stars right here.

The Rogue Valley's brightest prep football star in some time is indeed staying put.

They play great football, said Marshall, who is in the midst of basketball season with the SOC-leading Panthers, ranked fourth in the state.

Basically, from the start, they said that I'm their man. ... That kind of morale from not only coaches but also their players really made me feel welcome.

Just like home should feel.

Reach reporter Tim Pyle at 776-4483 or e-mail