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Auburn's Nick Marshall returns to Georgia as a top QB
Nov. 13, 2014

Auburn's Nick Marshall has shown he can pass, and run, at Auburn

By Charles Goldberg

AUBURN, Ala. -- Mark Richt says Nick Marshall is an outstanding runner and can really throw the football, but Georgia's coach still believes Auburn's quarterback would have been one heck of a college defensive back.

"There's no doubt about that," Richt says.  "We believed he could be one of the best cornerbacks in America. We believe he could be a very high draft pick as a corner as well. He's that talented of a guy."

He's also Auburn's starting quarterback after spending one year at Georgia as a DB and another season at a junior college. He'll return to Athens for the first time to meet his old team in Saturday's 6:15 p.m. in Sanford Stadium. 

"There's no doubt he's a very talented guy," Richt said. "He's playing quarterback as well as anybody in the league, probably in the country."

Yes, Richt considered Marshall for some offensive plays as a Wildcat quarterback.

"He's definitely a guy is very, very versatile and can do the things that you would definitely do in a Wildcat situation," Richt said.

Pretty good as a regular quarterback, too. Marshall, in less than two seasons at Auburn, has a school-record eight 100-yard games rushing as a quarterback, has accounted for 17 touchdowns in his last five games, is tied for the SEC lead with 11 rushing touchdowns, leads the SEC in conference games in passing efficiency, is already sixth in total offense at Auburn and is responsible for 51 touchdowns in 22 games.

He's a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, which goes to the nation's top player; and the Davey O'Brien Award, which goes to the top quarterback.

Marshall's Auburn teammates say their quarterback is taking a low-key approach to his return to Athens, and that even-handed approach to football has served him well in a series of comeback wins over the last two years. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee predicts Marshall will be fine.

"Sure, he knows a lot of those guys. He was there. It's the home state he grew up in," Lashlee said. "At the end of the day, all that stuff sounds good, but once that game starts he's going to play the best game he can, no matter what. He would, no matter who we were playing."

Marshall isn't the only home-state Georgia player returning.

"It will be a hyped-up game as I can imagine, but I'm pretty sure, collectively, we're going to be focused and stay level-headed with it," said defensive lineman Gabe Wright, who is from Columbus.

Marshall was a prize signee for Georgia in 2011 and played in all 13 games as a freshman. He was dismissed by Richt, and became a quarterback again at Garden City Community College in Kansas before signing with Auburn in 2013. He became the Tigers' starting quarterback and has been moving up Auburn's record books ever since.

It was a big story when Marshall faced his former teammates last year in Auburn, then again when he threw the Prayer in Jordan-Hare to Ricardo Louis with 36 seconds left that beat the Bulldogs 43-38.

"Last year, there's no doubt it was definitely different for him, but any time you experience that, have that experience one time, it's not as a big a deal the second time," coach Gus Malzahn said. "He's going to prepare like he normally would and there's not going to be any more to it than that."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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