football

Family is key for small-town star

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Family comes first for LaCrosse, Kan., athlete Marshall Musil.
So when his father – a long time football coach at LaCrosse, Colby and Osborne – passed away, his mother and sister became even more significant in his life. But he still couldn't help but think of his father every day, and that's why he strives on the football field to make him proud wherever he's at now.
"My dad was a coach from 84-96," Musil, who is 6-foot-2 ½ and 220 pounds, said. "He had a lot of success, and everybody still talks around here about how good of a coach he was. Everybody also tells me he's still with me in spirit, and he's proud of me.
"I use that as motivation. I can't let him, my mother, my sister and my entire family down. I have to work hard to be the best I can be."
That work ethic has allowed Musil to become one of the best high school football players in the state of Kansas.
Funny thing is that many people outside of the tiny Central Kansas town of 1,200 people haven't heard much about him, though. But that's about to change because he's quickly becoming a hot commodity with college coaches.
Musil picked up his first major scholarship offer this past Saturday when the Kansas Jayhawks offered him a scholarship.
He already had an offer from Illinois State on the table, but the offer from the Big 12 program is a significant development – especially in a town where everybody knows your name.
"We had a kid from LaCrosse a few years back go to Wyoming, and another went to Pitt State, but he was recruited by some D-I schools," LaCrosse coach Ryan Cornelsen said. "But we've never had a player that anybody can remember get an offer to play at a big school like Kansas. This is a first that I know of."
Musil said the shock of the offer still hasn't worn off.
"We went up there for a visit, and I had already sent my film in before we left," Musil said. "I talked to their tight end coach (Brandon Blaney) on the phone, and he said they were really excited about me.
"I went down there and got there about 9:30 for their practice. I was sitting there in the stands, and coach Mark Mangino walked up to us, and talked to my mom, my sister and me. About half way through the conversation, he said there's a letter in the mail on the way with an offer in it, but since I was there, he wanted to let me know about the news."
Musil didn't know what to say.
"I was excited, and shocked," he said. "But it was a good shock. Mom and my sister couldn't put any words out. They were in awe. I had to speak first. I told him 'thank you' and that I was really excited about the offer."
But it's an offer that Musil is going to mull over – at least for now. He's still open to several schools and said Kansas State, Tulsa, TCU and Wyoming are also seriously recruiting him.
"I don't think I was really tempted to commit yet," he said. "I want to see what else is out there. I only get to do this once, so I want to make sure I'm making the right decision."
While Musil is still debating what school he's going to commit to, his coach says there's no debate on how talented his star player is.
"I think the biggest attribute is that he moves so well laterally," Cornelsen said. "He's got good speed (4.64) for a 220-pound kid. He's a big guy that runs like a skill guy. He's also a great kid. He's in the top 10 in his class. He's a very respectful kid, a hard worker and what you expect from a big-time college football prospect."
Cornelsen said he knew right away that Musil was going to be special.
"His mother moved here when he was going into his freshman season, and we got him out there in our first practice," the coach said. "It was actually a midnight practice, and I saw him moving around. I knew right away he had the capability to be a good football player. He's worked hard and come a long way since then, but even back then you could see it."
Musil did a tremendous amount of damage as a junior.
At running back, he had 87 carries for 745 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also had 13 catches for 283 yards and 51 tackles on defense. He also finished third in the state in the 110-meter high hurdles as a sophomore, and also is a talented basketball player.
"To be honest, the bigger the game, the better he is," Cornelsen said. "He could have had a ton of big stats, but we took him out of a lot of games at halftime because we were winning so big. He could have had some amazing numbers had we unleashed him some. In some games, he'd only carry it five or six times. Most of the games, he was out of the game at half. He was that dominating."
Cornelsen believes Musil is a dominating all-around athlete that could project at a number different positions. Musil said he's open to about anywhere, as his No. 1 goal now is to keep focused on his family.
"My whole family has been really supportive through all of this, and I know my dad is with me, no matter what I do," he said.
"My mom takes me to all my sporting events, without even a question. She's there for me every time, and so is my sister. Family is No. 1 to me, so staying close to home will be big for me. There won't be any South Carolinas for me. Well, unless my family can come with me."
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