“It felt like it took forever,” Marshall said Monday, speaking for the first time this preseason, “but now it felt like it flew by. It’s definitely something that I’ve been excited just to get back out there and play.” Marshall rushed for 1,005 yards in his Georgia career before being lost in the fifth game of last season when he injured his right knee on a pass play.
“I feel like right now I’m on track to definitely be better than I was,” Marshall said.
His friend and fellow junior Todd Gurley sees it in practice, too.
“He’s just been able to finish a lot of runs,” Gurley said. “Last year at this time if someone grabbed his legs, he probably would have fell. He’s definitely driving his knees a lot more and finishing runs.”
Marshall said he’s worked on his knee drive.
“I feel like I used to lean forward a little bit more than I am now,” he said. “The last couple of years I think I ran hard, just I leaned forward when I ran so a lot of times I fell. Just working on getting my knees up better.”
Marshall was second on the team in rushing with 246 yards and a touchdown on 56 carries when he was lost for the season. He also had eight catches for 111 yards and a touchdown.
Gurley, meanwhile, has established himself as one of the top running backs in college football and is one of the SEC’s biggest stars. Georgia freshmen tailbacks Sony Michel and Nick Chubb also arrived to big expectations.
“Todd’s definitely earned that the way he’s played the last couple of years,” Marshall said. “I’m not worried about that stuff. I’m worried about playing football. The new guys came in with hype and they’ve lived up to the hype so far.”
Marshall viewed his injury as just part of the game that happens and attacked his rehab working.
He focused on school more and changed his major from management to finance, which he said was more challenging.
“With some of the guys like Malcolm (Mitchell), we just started realizing that football’s not forever,” Marshall said. “It did give me a chance I feel to grow as a person, a young man.”
He hasn’t missed a day of practice this month.
“I feel good,” Marshall said. “I made it through healthy. That’s a blessing. I didn’t have any setbacks or anything."
The 5-foot-11 Marshall said he got too big while out injured (weighing as much 230 this spring) but is now 212 pounds, down eight pounds from last season.
“I’m trying to be a great player,” Marshall said.
His expectations now are the same as they were before the injury.
“To be the best I can be,” he said.