Jalin Marshall was arguably Ohio State’s biggest grab in the 2013 recruiting class.
Being an Ohio native, he’s grown up around Buckeye football his whole life and now has the opportunity to wear the scarlet and grey. Though he seems to be a bit overlooked because he was such an early commitment, Marshall will be a star the day he sets foot on campus as he transitions from high school quarterback to collegiate receiver.
As a quarterback in Middletown High School’s option attack, Marshall knows all about making people miss with the ball in his hands. Racking up over 1800 yards on the ground, including 20 touchdowns during his senior season, Marshall will be called upon to play a new position at Ohio State.
This transition may not be as tough as it seems, though. For the Buckeyes, Marshall will be expected to play in coach Urban Meyer’s coveted “Percy Harvin" role. As a freshman he will be relied on to be a playmaker on the edges. This will also ease Marshall into the wide receiver role, as you’ll see many bubble screens and fly sweeps, things that don’t require too much thinking.
Taking this kind of approach will benefit Marshall—and help keep his head from spinning. The key needs to be just getting him the ball—however it may be done—and let him do his thing. There’s no doubt that Marshall can compete against defenses at the college level. His freak athleticism is something that can’t be coached, and when you have a guy like that, it’s impossible to keep him off the field.
Sure, he may struggle with route running and getting off the line of scrimmage at times, especially early in the season, but that’s why keeping it simple and getting him the ball quickly will make Jalin Marshall a household name over the course of his freshman year. We’ve seen this kind of approach all over the country.
Take a look at De’Anthony Thomas’ freshman year at Oregon. That season on offense, Thomas touched the ball 7.2 times a game as he was learning to adjust to college football. However, with that number of touches, he was able to rack up 1200 yards of offense—his blazing speed helps a little, too.
Now, I’m not saying that Marshall is the same type of player De’Anthony Thomas is. They are two totally different players. Nonetheless, Thomas was so successful as a freshman because Chip Kelly made it simple for him and just let him be the athlete that he his. This same approach will also need to be taken with Marshall until he figures out the logistics of being a Big Ten receiver.
All the attributes are there. His speed, strength, and agility all seem to point to a potentially outstanding career as a Buckeye. Though the workload may not be huge next season, Marshall should still provide a series of jaw-dropping plays that will leave defensive players in the dust. When the time comes to give Jalin Marshall a full plate, well, it will be game over for defenses going up against the Buckeyes.