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AUBURN — The journey back to the Southeastern Conference took Nick Marshall just over a year. Then six-plus months, 18 fall camp practices and three scrimmages later his road of redemption cleared another hurdle when Marshall was named Auburn’s new starting quarterback Saturday.
Marshall’s path is certainly one less traveled.
His dismissal from Georgia in 2012 led the Georgia High School Association record holder for career touchdown passes (103) to Garden City (Kansas) CC where he resurrected his football career.
“I got to hand it to him because there’s been a lot of people that’s been down and not made it back,” said Mark Ledford, Marshall’s high school coach at Wilcox County (Rochelle, Ga.). “He was pretty down, but he knew what he wanted to do and he’s done it.”
The comparisons to Cam Newton are natural, and Marshall has his goals set at matching the legendary success of the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner, who brought the first national championship in 53 years to the Plains.
Marshall’s confidence in his abilities is nothing new to Jeff Tatum, who coached him at Garden City last year.
“A lot of people think that when young men say that they’re going to win a Heisman or a national championship, they’re just saying it because that’s what they’re supposed to say,” Tatum said. “But in Nick’s case, he really believes that he’s got a chance to lead Auburn to a national championship and a chance to win the Heisman trophy.”
Before Marshall will attempt a pass at Auburn he first had to rebuild his reputation. It all began with a “whirlwind” weekend and a meeting along the highway.