Originally published August 8, 2011 at 06:18p.m., updated August 9, 2011 at 12:57a.m.

KU football coach Turner Gill announces that DE D.J. Marshall has left the team

Defensive end D.J. Marshall has left the Kansas football team.

Defensive end D.J. Marshall has left the Kansas football team.


After enjoying a spring in which he was both cancer-free and one of the stars of the Kansas University football team’s annual spring game, sophomore defensive end D.J. Marshall has elected to call it a career.

Marshall, of Mesquite, Texas, was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2009. After a private battle with the disease that included regular trips to Tulsa, Okla., for treatment and a lot of support from his Jayhawk family, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive lineman officially was declared cancer-free last November. He joined his team for the final week of practice and used that momentum to deliver a strong spring. In the spring game, he made back-to-back tackles for losses, including a sack, and also was honored at halftime for his courage and grace in the fight against cancer.

At the end of spring drills, Marshall was in the mix for playing time. At the end of Monday’s practice, his college career was over. KU coach Turner Gill made the announcement.

“D.J. Marshall has decided to end his football career,” Gill said. “He will remain at Kansas as a student, while completing his degree in Africa/Africa-American Studies. (He) remains in remission.”

The loss of Marshall likely will hit the Jayhawks more mentally than physically. Although their defensive line has question marks, it features plenty of young talent that should be able to overcome Marshall’s departure. Filling the void he provided as an inspirational figure could be tougher.

There’s no question that the decision to step away from the game he loved weighed heavily on Marshall’s mind. In April, following the spring game, Marshall mapped out the path he believed he could take.

“I hope to see my name on the short list of names when people look at Kansas football,” he told the Journal-World’s Tom Keegan. “I want to be one of the names teams think about when they play us. I want to try to introduce my legacy as a football player, not just my situation.”


djhawk75 2 years, 8 months ago

It's great to see that Marshall will continue his studies at KU. I hope he gets a great round of applause when he graduates.


JHWKDW 2 years, 8 months ago

That totally stinks!This is the guy I really wanted to go out and make plays for us this season glad you made it through all that Hodgkins stuff!Well miss you well wishing the best for you D J!


KUBowler99 2 years, 8 months ago

Hopefully he can find another role associated with the team (student coach, etc.). Glad to hear he is still in remission and doing well.


ahpersecoachingexperience 2 years, 8 months ago

Ut oh! Any excuse for gill to move the teams best returning rb to de...

Sims better hit the weight room, training table, and wear some 6" cleats


Ferd Magellan 2 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for giving your all as a player and good luck with your future at KU and beyond!


KU_Alumn_2000 2 years, 8 months ago

DJ - good luck to ya. So glad you beat cancer.

On a different we go...our d-line sucks...and now were dropping like flys with Lewendowski now injured.

Recruit some D-linemen for once. So sick and tired of not getting pressure on quarterbacks...and don't see how we will be any better this year.


Fortesque Beagleton 2 years, 8 months ago

Best of luck to DJ in all of his endeavors. He is an inspiration with or without football.


troutsee 2 years, 8 months ago

There is more to life than FB, as you have found out DJ. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors.


gchawk 2 years, 8 months ago

Really sorry to see you go, D.J., you'll definitely be missed. Best of luck in the future.


Keith Hummel 2 years, 8 months ago

You Rock in my book D.J., with or without football. Sorry we won't get to see you play, but I couldn't be prouder that you are finishing your degree at KU. Your an inspiration.

For anyone who hasn't seen it yet, this Gridiron video is a must-watch. It's from the KU/CU week last year and features D.J.'s battle with Hodgkins Lymphoma.

D.J. is featured at about the 2:40 mark.


Andy Tweedy 2 years, 8 months ago

That sucks! After watching Micah Brown's segment on the CU game last year, DJ became one of my favorite players. Now I guess he's just one of my favorite people! Early congrats on the degree, DJ!!!


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