Cassius Marsh carries about him a genteel nature in conversation.
He speaks in a quiet tone, with a slight Cajun accent. He is reserved and easygoing.
The private person doesn't seem to mesh with the sometimes volatile public persona he has developed as a defensive end for UCLA's football team.
Marsh accepts that, and works to suppress a side he can't entirely separate from his personality.
"With passion, when you're upset, comes anger," Marsh said. "Sometimes, when you're young and dumb, you don't know how to control it the right way."
The passion is a Stanford problem this week. Marsh, a 6-foot-5, 260-pound senior, is in his element against a Cardinal team that favors power football.
The control is Marsh's chore, and it is something he has developed since coming to UCLA. Yet, he also lost it momentarily against California last Saturday when a Golden Bears offensive lineman took a swing at him after a play. Marsh swung back and was ejected.
"There is no excuse for my reaction," Marsh said. His short-fuse temper "is one of those things that it is never really fixed," he added. "It's a part of you and you always have to be conscientious."
UCLA Coach Jim Mora said, "I wish people could see him the way we see him, the really fine football player who cares about his teammates. If he could control his passion and emotion a little bit more, people will start to recognize what a really great player he is."
Mora also acknowledged, "Cassius is kind of a wild horse rider at times, and that's OK."
Marsh loved soccer as a kid, but football was inevitable.
Curtis Marsh, his father, was a receiver in the NFL for three seasons. His brother, Curtis Marsh Jr., four years older, is a defensive back with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Marsh's first football memory was as an 8-year old playing on a youth team. He was in a tackling drill, going against the coach's son.
"My dad had showed up that day, so I was extra motivated," Marsh said. "I remember just destroying the kid. Coach made him go again and I looked at my dad and he was like, 'Don't do him like that again.' "
Marsh used less force. "It was the first time I learned how to show mercy on my teammates," he said. "There have been a lot of lessons I have learned from as far back as 8 years old."
Holly Ann LeBlanc, a single mother raising Marsh, taught many.
"The hardest part of the whole journey for Cassius was learning some people weren't worth their words," LeBlanc said. "Being a single mom, raising a man, I tried to bring around good people. I had to give up some relationships because they weren't a fit for my son."
Football was a fit.
Marsh was a star at Westlake Village Oaks Christian High and committed to accept a football scholarship for Louisiana State. When he had second thoughts about being that far from his mother, he switched to UCLA, but other schools weren't convinced.