Nick Marshall was electric with the ball in his hands at Auburn.
The quarterback turned defensive back couldn’t help but smile when discussing the opportunity he had late in the season with the New York Jets to showcase those same skills as the team’s starting returner on special teams.
“I was used to having the ball in my hands each and every play from college,” Marshall said smiling. “Having the ball in my hands again a couple times a game felt great.”
Marshall returned 12 kicks for 168 yards (14 yards per kick) and six punts for 39 yards (6.5 yards per punt). Twelve of those returns came during the final two weeks of the season.
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“I made the best out of the situation,” Marshall said.
When the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t put Marshall on its 53-man roster coming out of training camp, teams were in constant contact with his agent.
Jacksonville signed Marshall as an undrafted free agent coming out of Auburn. He started one game in the secondary as a rookie and played on special teams. New York brought Marshall in with a specific game plan in mind.
“I knew coming in I was more of a special teams game (player) and would help out some on defense,” Marshall said. “I knew I would be more of a returner, so I took that down and met with coaches each and every day.”
Marshall discussed his young NFL career with the Ledger-Enquirer during a youth football camp he hosted Sunday afternoon at the Wire Road Sports Complex in Auburn.
Every camper had the chance to work with Marshall, who played both his current and former positions. Campers put in extra effort to impress the quarterback responsible for the “Prayer at Jordan-Hare.”
“I enjoy being around the kids,” Marshall said. “It’s the offseason, so it’s really time for me to give back to the kids. They have been looking (forward) to this day, it’s just great to be outside and be with them.”
Marshall didn’t allow any easy catches, but the 150 kids in attendance didn’t seem to mind.
Auburn’s former star quarterback is enjoying the start of the offseason, but excited about the opportunities ahead. Marshall will have a chance to win the Jets’ starting return jobs when the team reconvenes for OTA’s in late spring.
Marshall is approaching the competition with the same attitude he used to guide him through his time away from the Jaguars’ main roster.
“You’ve got to be prepared for whatever they throw your way,” Marshall said. “If you go out there weak minded it can set you back.”