Marshall not burdened by expectations

In sports, especially in college, when the stage gets brighter and the stakes get higher it's common to see talented players let those situations get the best of them.

Expectations can be more of burden than a blessing when this happens, as players tend to believe the hype and take for granted the skills and the situation they are given. Fortunately for Sun Devil fans, they don't have to worry about this with 5'11", junior running back Cameron Marshall.

Marshall enters this, his third season in Tempe, as the incumbent starter in the backfield for the Sun Devils. Already on the Doak Walker Award watch list, Marshall is starting to gain national recognition after a strong sophomore campaign in which he rushed for 787 yards and nine touchdowns while sharing the backfield with stud freshmen Deantre Lewis in a "spread-offense," where rush attempts were hard to come by.

While expectations for he and the team have grown exponentially since the season ended, Marshall has stayed focused and continued to work.

"We're not really concerned about what expectations people put on us," Marshall admitted. "We have high expectations for ourselves so I don't think any expectation anybody puts on us can exceed what we put on ourselves. I think we're just trying to stay focused on the things we need to do and work on it from there.

"As a team we definitely expect to go to a bowl game, win the Pac-12 championship and all that. Individually I really want to score a lot of touchdowns and get a lot of yards. It would be nice to get over 1,000 yards this year, Arizona State hasn't had a 1,000 yard rusher in a little while now so it would definitely be nice to do that."

With Lewis out indefinitely following a freak injury from being shot earlier this year, 1,000 yards not only seems reachable for Marshall, but it almost seems like low number considering he had only 150 carries last season and never took it more than 23 times in any single game. Couple that with the recent injury to fellow running back Kyle Middlebrooks and Marshall is officially "The Guy," in the ASU backfield, a role he is ready to take over.

"I've embraced it," Marshall announced. "I've known Deantre was going to be a possibility for a little while now and I've mentally been preparing for that and physically been preparing for that. I'm ready."

With a year like he expects himself to have, Marshall could be looking at some pretty enticing NFL draft possibilities to go along with some prestigious college post-season awards, but the humble Marshall insists that even those expectations are something he doesn't concern himself with…not yet anyway.

"I'm not too concerned with anything like that right now," Marshall pointed out. "I'm focused on having a good year and just being the best I can be. I'm not really looking that far ahead."

Helping Marshall reach his goals is what's looking like a pretty solid group around him including his quarterback, Brock Osweiler, and a veteran offensive line, all of which is coming back from the previous season.

"Brock is a great guy. I think Brock has been doing a great job leading us on and off the field and he has become a much better player since I've seen him here in all the years I've been here. I think he's in a great position to lead the team as a leader and as a quarterback.

"It's great for me. I couldn't ask for a better situation. I'm comfortable with all these guys and I've ran behind them for a year and I'm used to how they play so I'm glad they're coming back."

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