Nick Marshall wasn’t signed out of the JUCO ranks to sit the bench, and unless there is a major move this summer by Kiel Frazier or Jonathan Wallace he won’t.
Marshall is stepping into a situation that is tailor-made for him to take over. At the JUCO level he was a dangerous dual-threat quarterback that passed for 3,142 yards and 18 touchdowns while adding 1,095 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground.
He is a perfect fit for head coach Gus Malzahn's offense, and he has shown the ability to win games at the collegiate level—albeit JUCO.
Throughout last fall he did have some interception issues, but at least he could put the ball in the end zone. That is something his counterparts can’t claim at this point.
There were a number of issues that plagued the Auburn offense last fall. A lot of them had nothing to do with the quarterbacks, but by the end of the season the quarterback couldn’t keep the offense in the game.
It was clear there was no answer for 2013.
Heading into the spring both Wallace and Frazier had an equal shot at landing the job. After 15 practices and a spring game that showed one player shooting for the stars while the other played keep away there was still no separation.
Wallace was the steadier of the two last season but Frazier took that role in the spring. Neither looked like all-stars, making this summer huge for both players.
This is where Nick Marshall enters the picture.
He will arrive on campus ready to compete for the starting job. The team will head into August with no leader, and within a few weeks Marshall will step into the leading role.
Starting his career at Georgia gave Marshall an understanding of an SEC environment and expectations. He was a reserve cornerback at the time, but he has been through a fall as an SEC football player. He isn’t walking in blind.
If Gus Malzahn would have spotted a starter this spring, he would have named one. Instead Auburn is stuck in the mud with another quarterback controversy.
It should be over by now, but because it isn’t shows that this program is waiting on a leader to step up. He hasn’t arrived on campus yet.
According to his Twitter account, Marshall will be on campus the first of June.
@moneymarcc91 I graduate May 17 I enroll there first of June cuz— WarEagle#14 (@NicMarshall7) April 29, 2013
There is a chance that Frazier and Wallace can make a push for the job, but at this point it is Marshall’s to come in and lose.
Incoming freshmen Jeremy Johnson and Jason Smith will also be in the mix, but letting Johnson and Smith take redshirts behind Marshall is a perfect scenario.
Relying on a true freshman is not the plan.
The Tigers need a change on offense. The spark has been missing for a while, and Marshall is the player that will bring it back.