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August 17, 2013

Who’s Nick Marshall? 10 things to know about Auburn’s starting quarterback

BY RYAN BLACK | rblack@ledger-enquirer.com

@wareagleextra | Like the blog on Facebook

It’s official: Nick Marshall has taken the reins as Auburn’s starting quarterback. So what are some things you should know about the Georgia native and junior college transfer (if you don’t know already)?

Here are 10 quick-hitting facts about Marshall to fill in a few blanks.

Nick Marshall was named Auburn's starting quarterback on Saturday. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)

Nick Marshall was named Auburn’s starting quarterback on Saturday. (Todd Van Emst/Auburn University)

Age: 21

Hometown: Pineview, Ga.

High School: Wilcox County (Ga.)

College experience: University of Georgia, Garden City Community College (Kan.)

Why he’s no longer at Georgia: Arriving as a heralded quarterback prospect in 2011, Georgia didn’t need Marshall with Aaron Murray entrenched as the starter. He moved to cornerback and appeared in 13 games for the Bulldogs that fall. He was dismissed from Georgia in February 2012 for a violation of team rules.

Junior college stats (one season): 7-4 record at quarterback for Garden City CC in 2012; scored 37 touchdowns (19 rushing, 18 passing); passed for 3,142 yards and was team’s leading rusher with 1,095 yards; had turnover issues, throwing 20 interceptions and fumbling the ball eight times, losing five

Star ratings: Scout ranked Marshall as a four-star prospect, while Rivals and 247Sports deemed him worthy of three stars.

What he brings: Marshall has been blessed with incredible athleticism. His arm strength is nearly unmatched, and he’s equally adept at tucking the ball and running with it. Either way, defenses will never be comfortable when Marshall has the ball in his hands.

Red flags: Marshall’s “violation of team rules” and eventual dismissal from Georgia was reportedly due to stealing money from a teammate’s dorm room. If Marshall has any issues at Auburn, head coach Gus Malzahn has already shown he knows how to get tough on prominent players, dismissing senior safety (and the team’s leading returning tackler) Demetruce McNeal after being arrested for marijuana possession on Saturday.

What to expect: Though some wanted to immediately anoint Marshall as the “Second Coming of Cam (Newton)” on Signing Day, that’s a bit off the mark. Newton stands at 6-foot-5 and weighs in at 245 pounds, dwarfing Marshall at 6-foot-1 and 210 pounds, respectively. And to think he’ll be able to match Newton’s epic 2010 season numbers-wise — when Newton threw for 2,854 yards and 30 touchdowns and rushed for 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns en route to winning the Heisman Trophy — is a bit too much to ask, even for someone of Marshall’s talents. Setting sights slightly lower — say, 2,500 yards passing with 20 touchdowns and 750 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns — is far more reasonable. If Marshall compiles those kinds of stats, it should bode well for the Tigers’ 2013 season as a whole.