As a three-star running back recruit in 2015, Marcus Marshall passed on James Madison's offer to sign with Georgia Tech. Two years later, he accepted the Dukes' offer and is now tearing apart the FCS.
Marshall, a 5-foot-10, 207-pound native of Raleigh, N.C., led the Yellow Jackets in rushing in both 2015 and 2016 before transferring to JMU, where he's been one of the best players in the FCS the last two years. After rushing for 850 yards and 11 scores last year, he was a HERO Sports 2018 Preseason All-American and is averaging a staggering 7.5 yards per carry and one touchdown every 12 carries.
Marshall is one of several former Power Five players tearing it up at FCS schools. Here are the others:
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Kyle Anderton, OT – Austin Peay
Previous School: Vanderbilt
Kyle Anderton made 11 appearances as a true freshman tight end at Vanderbilt in 2015. He transferred to Austin Peay, moved to offensive tackle and started 11 of 12 games for a Governors' team that rushed for 32 touchdowns and more than 3,400 yards in 2017. He was a Second-Team All-Ohio Valley Conference pick and is contending for All-America honors this season.
Jakari Dillard, WR – Central Arkansas
Previous School: Texas Tech
The volume has been modest for Jakari Dillard in two-plus seasons after transferring from Texas Tech, but he's been one of the most explosive receivers in the country since 2017. He's averaging 16.9 yards per reception over his last 17 games, including 21.5 yards per reception this year.
Chris Barnes, OG – Chattanooga
Previous School: Georgia
Chris Barnes fielded several Power Five offers as a three-star recruit in 2016 and picked Georgia. He only appeared in one game over two years and transferred to Chattanooga after 2018 spring practice.
The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder has started all five games at guard and has been key to an improved Mocs' passing game.
Troy Reeder, LB – Delaware
Previous School: Penn State
A former three-star recruit who started 11 games as a redshirt freshman at Penn State in 2015, Troy Reeder is now a three-year starter at Delaware who earned HERO Sports All-American honorable mention honors in 2016.
Through five games this season, Reeder has 48 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.
LJ Scott, RB – Eastern Kentucky
Previous School: Louisville
A former three-star recruit in the 2014 class who was the third-ranked fullback in the country, LJ Scott signed with Louisville and appeared in 30 games over three years (redshirted in 2016).
He transferred to Eastern Kentucky, and was an All-OVC kick returner in 2017, averaging 30 yards per return, which ranked fourth in the country. Scott has also been a capable runner and is averaging nearly six yards per carry in 2018.
Gavin Bryant, LB – Eastern Kentucky
Previous School: Tennessee
Gavin Bryant made an instant impact for EKU last year — his first after transferring from Tennessee, where he played in 21 games over three years — but has been even better as a senior in 2018. Through five games, he has 35 tackles, four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Cornelius Floyd, CB – Eastern Kentucky
Previous School: Arkansas
Returning from a knee injury that took most of his 2017 season, Cornelius Floyd has two interceptions and four passes defended in four games this year. Floyd was a three-star member of Arkansas' 2014 class.
Zerrick Cooper, QB – Jacksonville State
Previous School: Clemson
A former four-star recruit and the seventh-ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2016 class, Zerrick Cooper redshirted at Clemson in 2016 and attempted 41 passes over 10 games in 2017.
In January, he transferred out of a quarterback room that included Kelly Bryant, Trevor Lawrence and Hunter Johnson, and into a Jacksonville State quarterback room seeking a replacement for Bryant Horn. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Cooper won the job and, through five games, is 80-for-131 for 1,136 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also has three rushing touchdowns.
Ben DiNucci, QB – James Madison
Previous School: Pittsburgh
Ben DiNucci accepted his lone Power Five offer in 2015, signing with Pittsburgh. He played in 12 games over three years (one redshirt), starting five games, before transferring to James Madison over the winter.
He was 23-for-27 for 197 yards and one touchdown — and had 79 rushing yards — in the Dukes' near upset of NC State in Week 1, and has 1,117 passing yards, 10 passing touchdowns, 198 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns through five games.
Ron'Dell Carter, DE – James Madison
Previous School: Rutgers
Ron'Dell Carter signed with Rutgers as a three-star recruit in 2015 but played sparingly in two seasons (two tackles in five games). The 6-foot-3, 258-pounder transferred to JMU in 2017 and made an immediate impact, recording eight tackles for loss and four sacks.
Carter will top those numbers this season; through five games, he has six tackles for loss and three sacks.
Darrious Carter, DE – James Madison
Previous School: Virginia
Darrious Carter started one game over two seasons at Virginia before transferring to Harrisonburg in 2016. In 28 games for the Dukes, the former three-star recruit has 20.5 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, five passes defended and three forced fumbles.
Kendall Bussey, RB – Nicholls
Previous School: Texas A&M
A three-star recruit and the nation's 31st-ranked running back in the 2015 class, Kendall Bussey signed with Texas A&M and, after a redshirt season, had 237 rushing yards on 46 carries for the Aggies last year.
Bussey transferred to Nicholls after last year and ran for 123 yards and one touchdown in their Week 1 win over Kansas . He's slowed down since but still has 389 total yards and three touchdowns this season.
Alex Kjellsten, P – McNeese
Previous School: LSU
Ready for this one?
Alex Kjellsten signed with LSU, redshirted in 2013, transferred to McNeese in 2014, scored 62 points on eight field goals and 38 PATs in 2014, transferred to LSU in 2015, didn't play football for the Tigers in 2015 or 2016, transferred to McNeese in 2017 and averaged 40.1 yards per punt and tied the program record for longest punt (81 yards) in 2017.
Kjellsten, a native of Lake Charles, La., is now averaging nearly 43 yards per punt, has eight punts of at least 50 yards and has touchbacks on 22 of his 28 kickoffs.
Gunnar Raborn, K – McNeese
Previous School: Alabama
McNeese's other primary specialist also came from the SEC.
Gunnar Raborn has been one of the nation's best kickers since arriving from Alabama in 2016 (he went 2-for-3 on field goals and 9-for-10 on PATs in two seasons with the Crimson Tide). He is 26-for-31 on field goals the last two seasons.
Angelo Garbutt, LB – Missouri State
Previous School: Iowa
Angelo Garbutt, a former three-star recruit who was the 68th-ranked outside linebacker in the 2015 class, announced his transfer from Iowa after 2017 spring practice. He landed at Missouri State and has 111 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in 15 games.
Hunter Brown, LB – Sam Houston State
Previous School: West Virginia
One redshirt season at West Virginia for Hunter Brown has been followed by a superb career at Sam Houston State. The 6-foot-1, 225-pound senior has 164 tackles and 12 sacks in 32 games.
Matt Burrell, OT – Sam Houston State
Previous School: Ohio State
Matt Burrell's transfer from Ohio State went largely unnoticed because it happened literally minutes after Joe Burrow announced his transfer.
Burrell, a former four-star recruit who was the fourth-ranked guard in the 2015 class, played in 25 games over two seasons in Columbus. He's been a key piece of a banged-up Bearkats offensive line this season.
Chris Stewart, DE – Sam Houston State
Previous School: Wake Forest
Chris Stewart has missed all but one game this season but was dominant last year, his first after transferring from Wake Forest.
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Mississippi native was a HERO Sports Third-Team All-American last year after finishing first in the Southland and second in the FCS with 12.5 sacks. He also tied with former teammate and Oakland Raiders' 2018 second-round pick P.J. Hall for seventh in the FCS with 19.5 tackles for loss.
Xavier Lewis, S – Southeastern Louisiana
Previous School: LSU
A former four-star recruit from Reserve, La., Xavier Lewis has been spectacular after transferring from LSU in January. In the Lions' last three games, he has 24 tackles, four tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble.
Demry Croft, QB – Tennessee State
Previous School: Minnesota
Demry Croft was widely dubbed the future of Minnesota football after signing in 2015. The three-star recruit, however, struggled in nine games (six starts) last year before transferring to Tennessee State.
The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder has not struggled with the Tigers. In four games, he's completing 60 percent of his passes for 888 yards and eight touchdowns (two three-touchdown games) and nearly led an upset of Vanderbilt in Week 5.
Tom Flacco, QB – Towson
Previous School: Rutgers
The younger brother of Joe Flacco, Tom Flacco is making his own mark in the CAA. He signed with Western Michigan out of high school, transferred to Rutgers in 2017 and transferred to Towson in June.
He's been efficient for the Tigers as a dual-threat quarterback, averaging five yards per carry while completing 69 percent of his passes for 1,482 yards and 14 touchdowns.