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Marvell Tell III brings leadership, maturity and rare length to Colts secondary

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more interesting observations after the NFL Draft is how differently scouting personnel and members of the national media evaluate players. The media spends weeks analyzing players and projecting how they might transition to the next level. They discuss a player’s expected contributions and the teams that make the most sense, culminating in endless mock drafts.

Of course, every year the Draft humbles media members, former scouts, players and general managers by following an entirely different path. One example of a player who fell outside most pre-draft projections is Marvell Tell III.

Tell III was recruited as a standout high school safety and spent his entire collegiate career at the position. At 6’2” and 195 lbs. he has rare length in the defensive backfield but lacks ideal thickness for the position. This played a role in Chris Ballard and the Colts scouting staff targeting him as a corner prospect.

Tell III was a key special teams contributor early and played a big role in helping USC win the PAC-12 conference championship in his junior season (2017). He was named first team all PAC-12 and finished the season with 85 tackles, 2.5 for a loss, .5 sacks, 3 interceptions, 2 passes defensed, 1 fumble recovery and 1 defensive touchdown.

After such a strong junior performance, Tell III could have declared for the NFL Draft but he chose to return to USC to finish his education. He also felt that he had unfinished business and that he wanted to honor his senior classmates by trying to build on their 2017 success.

While that didn’t happen and Tell III didn’t have as productive of a senior season, he was voted a team captain and earned the respect of his peers. He earned a reputation for being a hard worker and as a great representative for the team and university. The following videos share a bit about his background, his interest in real estate, the thought process that went into his decision to return to school as a senior, and some thoughts from his coaches about what he brings to the table as a football player.