With his athletic and stocky frame, Tarboro Vikings senior linebacker Travonne Marshall was a force to be reckoned with on the gridiron this past season. He played fullback on the offensive side of the ball, punted and kicked off on special teams and was a key leader at linebacker on defense. He did it all and turned out to be one of the leaders for Tarboro.
With all of his hard work and dedication on and off the field, Marshall is The Daily Southerner's 2012 All-County Defensive Player of the Year.
Marshall also recently received the Eastern Plains Conference Defensive Player of the Year award.
Marshall racked up massive amounts of stats no matter what side of the ball he was playing on. He gained over 800 yards on the ground and scored 20 touchdowns on offense. He was instrumental as a lead blocker in the Tarboro-T formation. On the defensive side, he led the Vikings with over 140 tackles. He had three interceptions and forced 16 fumbles with his powerful hits on defense.
Marshall hit harder then any player on the field.
"You just don't see it happen very often with the type of play he brought and the outstanding leadership he gave us," Tarboro head coach Jeff Craddock said. "He was just a true blessing to our school and to our football team."
Marshall came to Tarboro for his senior campaign. Before he transferred, he was a dominate player for the Northern Nash Knights.
Marshall played only one season under Craddock, but he made that year very special in Craddock's eyes.
"Travonne is a very special player," Craddock said. "He worked hard for our program. He was a big part of our defense and offense during the season."
When Marshall arrived during the summer months and began to work out with the Vikings, he didn't know what role he would play for them. He didn't want the spot light, he just wanted to be a team player and wanted the Vikings to strive to be the best they could be.
Marshall showed explosive ability on defense. Some of his hits this season shocked Viking fans and opposing players and coaches. The very first play of the season against the Nash Central Bulldogs, Marshall kicked the ball off and was one of the first players down the field to make the tackle. When he tackled the Bulldogs player, the impact was so loud with the pads it echoed throughout Viking Stadium. The fans and Viking staff were amazed at the hit. The hit dropped a lot of mouths wide open, because of the force of the hit. Hits like this by Marshall continued the entire season. One of the hardest hits he made was in the state championship game when running back Quentin Roberson hit the sidelines looking to score. Marshall came from out of nowhere and plowed through an East Lincoln defender. The hit was so hard and brutal it sent the defender up in the air, out of bounds and stunned him. The crowd was in awe at the hit.
"I didn't expect that type of impact from him with just one season in our program," Craddock said. "He has been a joy to watch and I hope our fans appreciated what he brought to the table."
When Marshall came to Tarboro, he made quick friendships with all of the coaches and players. One player in particular was senior defensive end and tight end Tyquan Lewis. The two became inseparable and bonded tight.
Marshall began his season at the opposite end of the defensive line from Lewis. After two games, Craddock had a change of heart and decided that Marshall would help the Vikings defense more if he put him at middle linebacker. The change made a quick and lasting impact for them.
Marshall isn't the type of player to boast and brag about his talents. He is just a hard nose player who likes to get in on every play.
During the playoffs, Marshall went three consecutive games and had an interception.
Marshall and Craddock have been working to put together film of his play from this season and have sent it off to several schools. Film has been sent to East Carolina, Appalachian State and Chowan. Marshall and Craddock are hoping the film will give the coaches an idea of what type of player Marshall is and come and sweep him up.