He may not have been included in the NFL Network’s Top 100 but Ravens Pro-Bowl guard got a far higher honor in his hometown of Anamosa, Iowa on Sunday.
The Super Bowl Champion Yanda was honored by over 400 fans, friends and family members at his former high school where they named their weight room the Marshal Yanda Weight Room. They also retired his #77 jersey.
During a ceremony many of Yanda’s former football coaches spoke about Marshal and the kind of layer he was, including Yanda’s high school coach, Dan Kiley, and his Iowa Hawkeyes coach, Kirk Ferentz.
Marshal’s journey to the NFL was not an easy one for a small town football player. The son of a fourth-generation dairy cow farmer didn’t have the grades to play major-college football out of high school. Not giving up on that goal, he enrolled at North Iowa Area Community College in Mason City. NIACC doesn’t even have football anymore.
“At NIACC, we had 122 guys on the football team,” Yanda told the crowd. “Our coach said ‘How many of you want to play Division I ball?’ Everybody raised their hand. Then he said less than one percent of you would make it.
“I buckled down and took that to heart. I was the one guy who made it out of 122, by working hard and sacrificing.” Yanda told the Gazette in Iowa.
After playing for NIACC for two years the Ravens guard enrolled at the University of Iowa. There Yanda was selected as a 3rd-team All-American choice by The NFL Draft Report in 2006 and earned 2nd-team All-Big Ten honors from the league’s coaches.
Marshal has been a rock with the Ravens since his arrival in Baltimore in 2007 when the team drafted him 86th overall. On July 26, 2011, the Ravens re-signed Yanda to a five year, $32 million contract, solidifying his place along the Baltimore offensive line.
Marshal’s story is the kind of story that warms the heart. From a small town in Iowa to the bright lights of M&T Bank Stadium, he proves that dreams can come true with hard work and lots of heart.
Information obtained via the Gazette in Anamosa, Iowa.
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