This video slideshow was created by Gonzaga College High School shortly after Manny's passing
Manuel Jessal Marshall, affectionately known as “Manny,” was born in Washington, D.C. on September 18, 1986 to Matthew and Maria Marshall. He was the first born of two children of that union. His brother Marcel joined the family 19 months later.
Manuel attended Langdon Elementary school through kindergarten and then transferred to St. Francis de Sales School for elementary and middle school. At an early age Manuel excelled academically and took a special interest in sports. Manuel was an unusually large size and, although somewhat awkward, he persevered in track and field, winning the City CYO Championship in the shot put and discus events in the eighth grade, his last year at St. Francis. He also played basketball, winning many awards. Beyond the academics and sports, it was at this time that Manuel began to take flute lessons and play in the school band. He rounded out his extra-curricular activities by participating in the Youth Ministry, the Children’s Choir and serving as an altar boy at St. Francis de Sales Church until he left to go to college.
Manuel was quickly identified by basketball and football coaches as a highly sought-after high school recruit. Manuel selected Gonzaga College High School where he spent four beautiful and exciting years. He played football for the first time in his life and immediately became a star. He started all four years and played both on the offensive and the defensive teams. Later, Marcel joined him on the lines as book-ends. The brothers Marshall and the rest of the team became unstoppable, appearing in three consecutive Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) championship games and winning one. In Manuel’s senior year he was selected as one of the team captains, an honor that he cherished and took very seriously. Manuel received many other football honors including being voted as a two-time member of the All-League and All-Metropolitan teams, nominated for the U.S. Army All-American “Tough Man” Award, and named to the mdvarsity.com “Dream Team”, just to name a few.
In addition at Gonzaga, Manuel played freshman, junior varsity and varsity basketball. He was a member of the 2003 WCAC Championship team as well as the 2003 City title team. Finally, Manuel continued his interest in track and field by participating in the weight-throwing events. He co-led the track and field team to league titles in 2002 and 2004. He won the Conference title in the shot put and placed third in the discus event in 2004, while Marcel won the Conference title in the discus and placed third in the shot put event. This combination of wins was a major contributing factor to Gonzaga’s title win that year.
Lastly, but just as important to him, Manuel played the flute in the high school orchestra for four years, ascending to the position of section leader and continued his activities at St. Francis de Sales Church, receiving many honors and recognition for his work there. Manuel continued to work hard academically and graduated high school with a 3.4 grade point average.
Manuel was again highly recruited to play football at the college level. He ultimately selected the University of Delaware, a decision that pleased Gonzaga’s Head Football Coach Kenny Lucas as it was his alma mater. Manny excelled at football for the University, earning a part-time starting role in his sophomore year and later starting full-time. In his senior year, he helped lead the team to an appearance in the NCAA Championship Game after a storied and complex season.
Manuel left the University after the 2007-2008 academic year, but was determined to complete his college degree in economics. He took classes at the University of Maryland, earning credits that were transferred to the University of Delaware. He accomplished this while working full-time at the Cornerstone Grill and Loft where he developed close and nurturing friendships. In the spring of 2011 Manuel reached one of his life-long academic goals by participating in graduation exercises at the University of Delaware. He was later honored at the University of Delaware homecoming game in November 2011, where his parents and brother received his college diploma in front of twenty thousand fans and over twenty of his family, friends and teammates.
Manuel was a sweet, kind gentle giant. Although he was an outstanding athlete, he did not have a mean bone in his body. He was a very loving person which was evident in the way others loved him. Manny would give “the shirt off of his back” and treated everybody well. Everyone was simply crazy about him and wanted to be around him. He was humble to a fault and would probably cringe at all of the wonderful things being said about him. Manuel dearly loved his family and friends, especially Marcel with whom he did many things as well as his cherished girlfriend, Nicole Burns.
Manuel left us too soon on July 11, 2011. He will be sorely missed forever in the hearts and minds of those who were blessed to know him. Cherishing his memory, Manuel leaves behind his loving and devoted parents Matthew and Maria, brothers Marcel and Mario, grandmothers Juette Day and Aleen Wilbourne, devoted companion Nicole and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins and special family friends.