Nick Marshall is an elite junior college quarterback/athlete, and he just committed to play football for Gus Malzahn and the Auburn Tigers.
Max Olson of ESPN.com reports on the commitment:
“I feel good about it because now that I have this out of the way, I can focus on my academics,” Marshall said. “I’m glad it’s closer to home, so I know my family can see me play.”
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound juco quarterback chose Auburn over offers from Indiana, Kansas State and N.C. State. For Marshall, the presence of the Tigers’ new coaching staff made all the difference.
“Coach [Gus] Malzahn is a nice guy and recruited me when he was at Arkansas State,” he said. “And Dameyune Craig, he tried to get me in high school when he was at Florida State. When he came back to Auburn, I felt like that was big and I didn’t want to miss out on playing for him.”
This is a very big commitment for Auburn, especially considering the skill set that Marshall will be bringing to the Tigers. It is worth noting that Michael Carvell of ajc.com tweeted that Marshall will have to go through some technicalities before he's able to sign with Auburn:
Hearing Auburn has to do paperwork, go through admissions, before Nick Marshall is cleared to sign there: bit.ly/W3PW4q— Michael Carvell (@RecruitingAJC) January 14, 2013
He's a former Georgia Bulldogs cornerback who signed with the program as an athlete back in 2011, after a high school career as a standout and elite duel-threat quarterback.
Unfortunately, Marshall was dismissed from the Bulldogs' program for a violation of team rules that reportedly involved theft of money, according to David Ching of DawgNation/ESPN back in February of 2012. Marshall then went to Garden City Community College where he put up 3,786 total yards and 36 touchdowns, per Olson's report, and now he'll be bringing his skill set to Auburn as a member of Malzahn's 2013 class.
The question now becomes: What exactly is Marshall bringing to Auburn?
He's obviously a very talented player when the football is in his hands, and his statistics back that up. The issue Marshall will run into is that Auburn already has the commitment of 4-star duel-threat quarterback Jeremy Johnson, and for all intents and purposes, Johnson looks like he can be an elite quarterback for the Tigers in the future.
Johnson is 6'6'' and 215 pounds according to rivals.com. He's extremely mobile and can be effective as a runner, but he also has a very strong arm. At the very least, he looks like he can be the future at quarterback for Auburn.
That's not to say that Marshall can't compete for that position, though, and at the very least, he can be an adequate backup. He has good size himself at 6'2'' and 205 pounds, and if he is indeed the playmaker that his stats would suggest, perhaps he could end up being a good receiver in Malzahn's offensive system.
Auburn could choose to go the Georgia route and put him in the secondary, but why not use his skill set on offense?
He could be a valuable depth player as a capable backup, but in the meantime, why not get him on the field and try to get the football in his hands? Malzahn is known as an offensive coach, and I'm sure he can find ways to get his playmakers the ball.
It appears as if Marshall has the potential to be one of those playmakers.
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