August 23, 2011

Marshall bouncing back

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A concussion during Georgia's first scrimmage cost freshman Nick Marshall just over a week, but based on what head coach Mark Richt saw Monday, it appears the former Wilcox County standout is making up for lost time.

"I watched him practice (Monday), the first full-speed practice since he's come off of that and I just liked his energy; I liked how hard he practiced," Richt said. "I told him, you keep practicing like that every day and everything's going to work out. So, we just want him to continue to do that and we'll see where it goes."

That would certainly be music to Marshall's ears.

"It set me back a lot, because I'm not on the depth chart where I was," said Marshall, who added he's currently working third team at boundary corner. "Now, I'm trying to work my way back in."

By now, Marshall's story is a familiar one to Georgia fans.

One of the state's premiere offensive players while playing quarterback for Wilcox County, Marshall led the school to the Class A state championship his junior year, passing for 2,956 yards and 32 touchdowns.

On the basketball court, he averaged 28 points per game, numbers that had just as many college hoops coaches as football coaches vying for his Signing Day signature.

But Marshall had other ideas.

Although he could have gone to just about any school to play quarterback, the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder told Bulldog coaches he preferred to play defense, so if the opportunity arose, he could still give hoops a try.

That's exactly what Marshall plans to do.

Although no exact formula has has been set, Marshall said he fully intends to join Mark Fox's basketball squad once his football obligations are complete.

He'll do so with Richt's blessing, providing he takes care of business off the field.

"We haven't got a formula or a date, but we want him to make sure he's taking care of his business academically, that's the big thing," Richt said. "All through the recruiting process we (Richt and Fox) talked about if he can handle it, we want him to do it. He's (Marshall) always said that football is his lead sport and he wants to make sure he takes care of his business in football. He (Fox) doesn't want to rob him from that, but if he can get out there and play some hoops, he's all for it."

Marshall said he and Fox talk on a regular basis.

"We talk about a lot of different things," Marshall said. "He asks me about my football stuff and what I'm doing. He asks if I'm ready for some basketball."

Marshall certainly knows how physical the game of football can be after his recent concussion, which occurred while he was returning a punt during special team drills.

"I was coming and somebody pushed a teammate into me and we hit head on," said Marshall, who added he's also seeing action on the Bulldogs' kickoff and kickoff return team.

"I'm seeing a lot of special teams work," Marshall added.

Fellow cornerback Brandon Boykin believes Marshall's future is bright.

"He's a very athletic guy. As a basketball guy, he's picked up some of the techniques just because he moves his feet so well," Boykin said. "He still needs to pick up the playbook, although it does take a while. But he'll get it, a lot of other freshmen struggle with it, too, but he's so athletic; that's going to carry him."

Eventually, don't be surprised if Marshall returns to some of his offensive roots, but that time doesn't appear to be real soon.

"I'm not sure yet, I'll just have to see down the road," he said. "But I came here to play defense. Coach (Scott) Lakatos likes tall corners, so that's probably my best fit."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.