UCLA Football Invades Seattle

Former UCLA Bruins players are currently members of the Seattle Seahawks

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PHOTO: Paul Bartelt | Sports Columnist

Seattle, WA.    This season, two former UCLA Bruins players are currently members of the Seattle Seahawks.  Ricky Manning Jr. is beginning his first NFL season as an assistant defensive backs coach and Cassius Marsh is starting his third season with the Seahawks as a defensive end and outside linebacker.

Manning, chosen in the third round of the 2003 NFL draft by Carolina, played six NFL seasons that included two Super Bowl appearances, as a rookie in Super Bowl XXXVIII with the Panthers and as a Chicago Bear in Super Bowl XLI.

Manning was hired by Seattle this year after two seasons as an assistant coach at Fresno City College and two seasons at Fresno State.  Following high school graduation in Fresno, Manning was drafted by the Minnesota Twins but elected to attend college and play football.  Growing up, Manning was a Wolverines fan and took recruiting trips to Michigan, UCLA, Notre Dame, USC and Arizona State.  Selecting UCLA, Manning started 45 consecutive games for the Bruins, intercepting 13 passes in his college career and he was chosen three times as a first-team All Pac 10 selection.

“Coming from Fresno it was a culture shock going to UCLA,” said Manning.  “UCLA was an awesome experience.   I learned a lot and became a man there along with making life long friends at UCLA”.  Twice, Manning played against crosstown rival USC, which was coached by the man who hired him, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.  In Seattle, Manning is surrounded by seven former Trojans assistant coaches.  “Seattle is a first class organization and Pete is a tremendous coach,” said Manning.  Against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, the Seattle defense was dominant in a 37 to 18 victory.  The Seahawks defense recorded two quarterback sacks, forced one fumble and intercepted a 49ers pass in their NFC West divisional victory.

Marsh, 6-4, 245, earned All State and All CIF honors in high school and considered accepting college scholarship offers from USC and LSU, but ultimately decided to attend UCLA.  Marsh strongly considered attending USC until Carroll left to coach the Seahawks.  As a Bruin, Marsh moved from defensive tackle to defensive end and caught two touchdown passes while starting 38 games at UCLA.  He comes from a football family.   His father, Curtis Marsh Sr., was a wide receivers, and brother Curtis Marsh Jr., a cornerback in the NFL.  “I come from an athletic family and have worked extremely hard to get where I am,” said Marsh.   “My older brother and I spent a lot of time together working out.”

Marsh was selected by the Super Bowl champion Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft.   During his rookie year with Seattle, he injured his foot and was placed on injured reserve.  The Seahawks ended up playing in Super Bowl XLIX that season.   At UCLA Marsh blocked three kicks and again, in week one this season, he blocked a kick in the Seahawks 12-10 victory over Miami.  “I am so thankful to be with Coach Carroll in Seattle,” said Marsh.  “It has been a great experience.   I love my role on special teams and being a third down pass rusher.”   Look for Marsh to continue to become more involved in the Seahawks defense.

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