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Bobby Marshall, who was born in Wisconsin and raised in Minneapolis, was the first African-American to earn All-America honors in football in the Western Conference (now the Big Ten).

After graduating from Minneapolis Central High School, Marshall enrolled at the University of Minnesota. Marshall saw limited action as a freshman in 1903 before lettering three years for the Gophers football team.

During Marshall's freshman season, the Gophers and Michigan tied for the Western Conference title. The Gophers were unbeaten that season, with an overall record of 14 victories and a tie, while Michigan was also unbeaten with 11 victories and a tie. The teams played to a 6-6 in Minneapolis, a game that started the teams' tradition of playing for the "Little Brown Jug." The six points scored by the Gophers, were the only points allowed by Michigan in 1903.

Over the next three years, the Gophers were also co-champions of the conference in 1904 and 1906. In 1906, Marshall kicked a 40-yard field goal to help the Gophers defeat the University of Chicago, 4-2. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Marshall was named a second-team All-America in 1905 and 1906 as an end.

Marshall told the Minneapolis Tribune in 1950 that playing in the 1903 Michigan game was his biggest thrills in sports.

During his time at the University, Marshall was also competed in baseball, boxing, hockey and track and field. He was a first baseman on the Gophers baseball team that won a conference title in 1907.

After graduating from the University in 1907, Marshall played semi-pro baseball for many years with teams such as the Minneapolis Keystones, St. Paul Colored Gophers and Chicago Giants.

He also played semi-pro football with the Minneapolis Deans and the Minneapolis Marines. From 1920 through 1925 he played in the National Football League with the Rock Island Independents, the Minneapolis Marines, and the Duluth Kelleys.

Marshall, who was 44 when he played for Duluth in 1925, and Fritz Pollard were the first African-Americans to play in the NFL.

He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1971.


Class: 1988.

Sport: Football.

Teams: Gophers, Minneapolis Marines, Duluth Kelleys.