Let the debate continue.
Arguably the SEC’s top returning quarterback, Nick Marshall, has NFL aspirations. Earlier this year, Marshall was asked about whether he thought he could play quarterback in the NFL, and Marshall said he liked his chances compared against others.
Auburn offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee thinks so, too, without question, according to AL.com.
“Oh, I think without question,” Rhett Lashlee said. “I mean, everybody says it, because he’s talented enough to do a lot of things at the next level, but I don’t think there’s any doubt in my mind or his mind that — first of all, he’s worried about being the quarterback at Auburn — if he matures and develops the way he’s capable of, I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be a quarterback.”
Marshall threw 20 INTs in JUCO before coming to Auburn, one year removed from playing defensive back at Georgia. Although he threw for 1,166 less yards last year than in JUCO, he also threw 14 less INTs. He steadily improved throughout the season, and cutting down on the number of picks was impressive, regardless of the reduction of attempts.
Gus Malzahn also told the AJC that there’s ‘no doubt about’ Marshall being an NFL quarterback.
“There’s no doubt about that. What he did last season with not going through (the previous) spring, with only having two weeks under his belt before the season started with reps the first group – and he led us to 13 seconds within winning the whole thing. He’s off to a great start. I think there’s no doubt about that.”
RELATED: Auburn’s spring forecast
Two things Marshall must work on this spring are ball security and touch. He was credited with 14 fumbles last season, and even though he cut down on the picks, he has to take care of the football better. Marshall also lacked noticeable touch on short to intermediate routes, passes he can’t afford to miss at the next level. He has a Howitzer for an arm, but he lacked noticeable touch and feel on shorter throws.
In Gus Malzahn’s collegiate coaching career, he has never had a returning starting quarterback. He has his first in Marshall, and a complete spring practice in the same system should pay dividends come fall. And it just may help Marshall turn scouts’ heads. There’s no denying his athletic ability and big arm, but he must improve on a couple different deficiencies this spring.
Photo Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports