TaQuon Marshall burst onto the scene last season showing the Yellow Jackets a bright future. In year two as a starter what can we expect to see from him, and what changes are happening around him to make him more effective?
TaQuon Marshall’s emergence into the starting Quarterback role for the Yellow Jackets last season gave a shot of electricity to Georgia Tech’s offense. We all know his background by now, being originally signed to play A-back and then being converted to Quarterback for Paul Johnson. He positioned himself with a huge spring becoming the natural successor to Justin Thomas.
He stepped into the role beautifully compiling a stat line of 247 rushing attempts for 1,146 yards and 17 touchdowns. The harder of the lines to read is his passing numbers which were 43 completions in 116 attempts for an abysmal 37.1% completion percentage and 10 touchdowns.
Five interceptions scattered throughout the last four games of the season were not deciding factors, but certainly contributed to a late-season collapse for the offense, and their failure to keep the pressure on tight games.
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Marshall’s total stat lines are good for a Georgia Tech Quarterback, but that completion number has to come up this season if the Jackets have any chance of getting back to the postseason. Marshall also took a few sacks for major losses, that put Tech in hard down and distance positions throughout the season. These are technical issues that are easily corrected and not solely on Marshall either.
The question remains however if Marshall will take a step back in what will be his Junior season on the Flats. One side of that equation will depend on being able to replace number one receiver, Ricky Jeune. His counterpart Brad Stewart will be returning for his senior season, and while being dependable as a pass catcher in all situations, he does not give you the feeling of being the “guy” for that role.
Enter Jalen Camp, who has emerged from spring practice as having strong potential to be the next best thing to happen to Tech’s offense. The downside of that, however, is that Camp is inexperienced in game situations and will have to prove himself before the mantle can be passed.
The next question mark in this list is going to be offensive line play. If you watch any of Marshall’s big touchdown runs from the past season you will almost always see Jahaziel Lee out in front throwing a block. Unfortunately, inconsistent play from both sides of the O-Line last season left perimeter plays to minimum effectiveness, which really hurt the effectiveness of Marshall not just rushing but also in pass protection. Ole Miss transfer Jack DeFoor and Bailey Ivemeyer will also be critical to success all along the line this season.
With all of these things in consideration, it is hard to truly know if Marshall will take a step back next season or explode to a Heisman candidacy. No matter what happens it feels like the Quarterback will be in a pretty solid position to continue his reign as a starter for the Yellow Jacket offense.