Despite all the things Marshall did for the Buckeyes last year, he continues to add to his versatile skillset this spring as he has been working as a more traditional receiver, split wide to get in time against press coverage.
“I think they are trying to get the younger players more developed inside and see how I handle being outside with press coverage and it’s helped me a lot,” Marshall said after practice Saturday.
“The first couple practices it was rough, you know, but with coaching and technique I’ve gotten better throughout the spring.”
Marshall started last season as the backup to Dontre Wilson at the H-back position, but continued to push for playing time throughout the season and took over full-time duties at that spot after Wilson was injured against Michigan State. Marshall finished with 38 catches, the second most on the team, and was third on the team with 499 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
Rather than simply build on his strong performance in the slot, Marshall has been working with the coaching staff to become even more versatile.
“I wanted Jalin to go in and get that work on the outside,” receivers coach Zach Smith said. “I wanted him to get press-man work because that’s something you don’t get a lot of in the slot. I think to take his game to the next level that’s a critical piece.”
Elevating his game has required Marshall to embrace a steep learning curve. He redshirted in his first season on campus in order to adjust to playing receiver after starring as a quarterback for Middletown High School.
A year later he is more comfortable putting is signal-calling days behind him and embracing the new challenge of moving outside.
“I’m letting it go a little bit, letting quarterback go,” Marshall said. “It’s easier now because I’ve gotten so many reps at receiver and it’s given me more confidence to just forget about the past.”
Marshall was clearly versatile last year. In addition to his 38 receptions he had 15 rushes, two pass attempts, 24 punt returns and two kick returns. After doing a little of everything for the Buckeyes in 2014 he continues to expand his game this spring.
With experience all over the field Marshall’s knowledge of the offense has never been better.
“I think I understand the offense really well,” he said. “I think out of all the receivers I probably know the offense the most. It allows me to play faster. On the field when a play is called I know what it is right away and I know what I need to do to be able to make the play.”