The Auburn Tigers made an improbable run to the BCS National Championship Game last season. Almost no one saw the Tigers coming, especially with a new head coach in Gus Malzahn and a new quarterback in Nick Marshall.
In fact, it wasn’t clear until near the end of fall camp that Marshall would be the starter. He did win the competition during camp, and proved all season long that he was definitely the right man for the job.
Marshall had a huge impact on the offense, with both his arm and his legs. Marshall connected on 59.4 percent of his passes for 1,976 yards, with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. Marshall rushed for 1,068 yards, which was second only to Tre Mason on the team. The junior quarterback also had 12 scores on the ground.
Now, Mason has moved on to the NFL, and Marshall will be the main man in the backfield for the Tigers in 2014. As he proved in 2013, he is more than ready to lead. And Malzahn will be asking him to do even more in the upcoming season.
Running back Cameron Artis-Payne will try to fill the shoes of Mason, but it will be Marshall who will be in charge of leading an attack that led the nation in rushing in 2013, and nearly beat the Florida State Seminoles for the national championship.
If Auburn is to make another run at Southeastern Conference glory, Marshall must be the man to lead them there. And it is apparent that he is ready for that challenge.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.