Aug 18, 2013
By Phillip Marshall
AUBURN, Ala. – Saturday night, Mark Ledford got the call for which he’d waited and hoped. It was from Nick Marshall, who brought good news. He’d been named Auburn’s starting quarterback.
“I just got off the phone talking with him,” Ledford said. “He’s real excited. He should be.”
Ledford is the head coach at Wilcox County, where Marshall shattered the state record with 102 career touchdown passes and became a Georgia high school legend. He won 36 games in three years as a starter and led Wilcox County to the 2009 state championship. On the basketball court, he averaged 27.5 points per game as a junior and more than 28 points per game as a senior.
Nothing Marshall does surprises Ledford. He’s seen it all first-hand.
“Honestly, there’s not anything he can’t do,” Ledford said. “He’s the best basketball player I’ve ever seen. He could have been the best baseball player.”
A hot prospect in 2011, Marshall signed with Georgia as a cornerback. He played 13 games as a true freshman, but fate intervened and he went home in February of 2012.
“The day after he got back from Georgia, I put him in my truck and we went riding,” Ledford said. “He didn’t make any excuses and he hasn’t since. I was getting blown up. Small-school coaches were calling me thinking they could get one they couldn’t normally get. Junior colleges were calling.
“I said ‘What do you want to do?’ He said, “Coach I want to go to junior college and play the position that got me where I am now and get back in the SEC.’ Well, that’s what happened.”
Marshall signed with Garden City (Kan.) Community College. Last season, he passed for 3,142 yards and 18 touchdowns. He rushed for 1,095 yards and 19 touchdowns.
“There really is nothing he can’t do,” Ledford said. “He played wide receiver for me when he was a freshman, and he’d be the No. 1 receiver on a number of college teams. The Georgia coaches said he’d be a first-round draft choice if he stayed at corner.”
“I knew if it came down to athletic ability he’d win the job,” Ledford said. “He had to grasp the offense and win the trust of his teammates. It sure seems like he’s done that.”
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: