About Them Dawgs: Keith Marshall
December, 4, 2012
By David Ching | ESPN.com
Daniel Shirey/US PresswireKeith Marshall was off to the races quite a bit during his freshman season, as he provided the Bulldogs with a big-play element out of the backfield.Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at tailback Keith Marshall.
No. 4 Keith Marshall
109 carries, 723 yards, 8 TDs in 2012
Role in 2012: The highest-rated prospect among Georgia’s 2012 signees, the speedy Marshall enjoyed a solid freshman season while sharing carries with fellow freshman tailback Todd Gurley.
The good: Marshall’s breakaway speed made him the best home-run threat in a Georgia backfield in years. Among his eight touchdown runs this season were bursts of 75, 72, 62 and 52 yards. That helped him form a phenomenal 1-2 punch with Gurley, who also possesses impressive speed, but is a better option as a between-the-tackles runner. However, Marshall did a fine job of that himself and still ranked among the top freshman rushers in the SEC.
The bad: He is certainly Georgia’s top speed back, but Marshall isn’t in the same class as Gurley as a physical runner -- at least not yet. He carried the ball only twice against Alabama’s punishing defense last Saturday for gains of 1 and 2 yards. The “Gurshall” combination is probably the best freshman backfield duo in school history, but the backs are not truly interchangeable at this point.
Crystal ball: It will be interesting to see how and if Marshall’s role changes as he matures physically. He’s never going to be as big as Gurley nor as capable of plowing over defenders, but he could potentially add some size and become a more physical runner without sacrificing any speed. Regardless, he and Gurley should remain as the cornerstones of Georgia’s offense over the next two seasons after breathing life into the Bulldogs’ underwhelming running game.
The top five freshmen in the SEC
Final Nevada 3 Louisiana-Lafayette 16 Final Utah State 21 UTEP 6 Final 22 Utah 45 Colorado State 10 Final Western Michigan 24 Air Force 38 Final South Alabama 28 Bowling Green 33
6:00 PM ET Marshall Northern Illinois 9:30 PM ET Navy San Diego State
12:00 PM ET Central Michigan Western Kentucky 8:00 PM ET Fresno State Rice
1:00 PM ET Illinois Louisiana Tech 4:30 PM ET Rutgers North Carolina 8:00 PM ET North Carolina State UCF
1:00 PM ET Cincinnati Virginia Tech 2:00 PM ET 15 Arizona State Duke 3:30 PM ET Miami (FL) South Carolina 4:30 PM ET Boston College Penn State 8:00 PM ET Nebraska 24 USC
2:00 PM ET Texas A&M West Virginia 5:30 PM ET Oklahoma 17 Clemson 9:00 PM ET Arkansas Texas
3:00 PM ET Notre Dame 23 LSU 6:30 PM ET 13 Georgia 21 Louisville 10:00 PM ET Maryland Stanford
12:30 PM ET 9 Ole Miss 6 TCU 4:00 PM ET 20 Boise State 10 Arizona 8:00 PM ET 7 Mississippi State 12 Georgia Tech
12:00 PM ET 19 Auburn 18 Wisconsin 12:30 PM ET 8 Michigan State 5 Baylor 1:00 PM ET 16 Missouri 25 Minnesota 5:00 PM ET 2 Oregon 3 Florida State 8:30 PM ET 1 Alabama 4 Ohio State
12:00 PM ET Houston Pittsburgh 3:20 PM ET Iowa Tennessee 6:45 PM ET 11 Kansas State 14 UCLA 10:15 PM ET Washington Oklahoma State