MARIETTA, Georgia–The Auburn basketball team picked up a big commitment, literally and figuratively, on Friday when Peyton Marshall announced that he will play for Coach Bruce Pearl’s Tigers. Marshall, who is 6-11, 310 pounds from Kell High School, chose the Tigers over Georgia, LSU, Missouri and others. He is rated four stars as the No. 48 overall prospect in the 2024 class.
“The reason I chose Auburn was simple because it felt like the place to be and it felt like I have the best opportunity for me to take my game to the next level and reaching my fullest potential,” he told 247Sports. “That’s simply why I could see myself there and also the college feel. It felt like home. The people were nice and welcoming.”
Marshall is ranked as the No. 9 center prospect in the 2024 class and No. 6 overall prospect in the state of Georgia. A standout performer at one of Pearl’s summer camps for prospects, he is Auburn’s initial commitment for the 2024 signing class. The Tigers have one player signed for the 2023 class, a four-star guard Aden Holloway.
On his official visit to Auburn in September, Marshall talked to last season’s starting center, Walker Kessler, a player he already knew. Kessler, a first round NBA draft pick, was back on campus and was recognized with other members of the 2021-22 team as Southeastern Conference Champions during the football game vs. Penn State. “It made me feel like, dang, they are really getting stuff done over there,” Marshall said of the ceremony honoring the team. “I could be a part of that. I was like wow.
“I talked to him (Kessler) and he told me, ‘Just keep doing what you are doing and it is going to pay off.’ He was making his point for me (coming to Auburn).”
On the subject of Kessler, Marshall said the Auburn coaching staff told him if he joins the program they will work on developing the all-around skills, like they did with Kessler that helped him become the SEC and national defensive player of the year and a first team All-SEC selection.
Marshall said he has a strong relationship with Auburn’s coaching staff. Commenting is Wes Flaniganhis recruiting coach, the prospect said, “He is a real good guy on and off the court.”
Commenting on Pearl, Marshall said, “He is keeping it real. Some coaches are really snobby, but he is really a family type of guy and I like that about him.”
Marshall, who has dropped 80 pounds on a regimen of workouts and diet, was a standout performer this past summer at an Auburn basketball camp.
Asked what he is doing to drop the weight, Marshall said, “I have a diet plan that is called the keto diet and it is really low carb. It cuts out the sweets and bread. Also, I am staying consistent in the gym working with my trainer, which is a big reason I have got down to where I am now.”
Marshall said his goal is to get to the 280 range and “from there just make more muscle.” While he is doing that he may be growing taller, according to his doctor. “She said before I am done I will be at least seven-foot-one or seven-foot-two.”
Commenting on what he is working on with his game, Marshall said, “My Endurance and my skillset. I have a bad habit of putting the ball on the floor. It’s the little things, really.
Both of his parents played high school basketball, but not at the college level. His dad is five-foot-ten and his mom is around 6-2 to 6-3, the prospect noted.
“I enjoy the competitiveness in basketball,” Marshall said. “I grew up in a nice family and me being the first one to be able to go out and do this really motivated me.
“I used to play football. I had to make a decision because I couldn’t focus on both of them so I stopped playing football in eighth grade. I play basketball year-around now.”
In April of this year 247Sports basketball recruiting Analyst Eric Bossi wrote about Marshall’s potential, saying: “It is going to be interesting to watch the development of this massive, big man from Georgia. According to his coaches, Marshall has lost around 80 pounds over the last year or so to get down to about 300 pounds. He’s a Gigantic human who is pretty nimble on his feet, has strong hands and kids at the 16U level just bounce off of him.”
Asked what he does best at this stage of development, Marshall said, “I would say my passing is a strength because I draw a lot of double-teams. I feel like my rim protection has gotten a lot better since last year as has been being able to finish through smaller Defenders when I get mismatches.”