Countdown to Kickoff: 74 Days
This week, our “100 Days to Kickoff series continues as we look at five players who are primed to have a bigger role and be invaluable to the team in 2016. There are players every year that seem to step up at the right time and make a difference. This week, we’ll be selecting players who have the ability to have those breakout performances that will take the team to the next level this fall.
OL Andrew Marshall - Junior
Andrew Marshall came to Georgia Tech out of West Forsyth High School in Cumming, Ga. He was rated as a three-star recruit by both Rivals (5.7) and the 247Sports Composite (0.8503).
Since he came to Tech, he has served as Freddie Burden’s back-up at center. Two years ago, he appeared in 10 games, while last year, he appeared in 12, with none of these appearances being starts.
So at this point, you might be wondering, well, this guy doesn’t have any starts and he’s currently the back-up to a senior offensive lineman who is probably one of the best players on the team. How exactly is this guy going to be a “breakout player”?
Well outside of Burden, the offensive line is still very much in question, specifically at guard. There are a couple of situations here where Marshall could have the opportunity to break out:
Marshall moves to guard
I’m split on which of this and the following situation is more likely, but for reasons I’ll explain later, I’m inclined to believe this one is less likely.
Anyway, it’s been pretty well documented that Andrew Marshall has been a solid offensive lineman for the Yellow Jackets. Not just any player gets to come in as a true freshman and play in 10 games as the first guy off the bench; it just doesn’t happen.
Paul Johnson pretty clearly likes this guy. Moving him to guard would allow Johnson to get the five best linemen on the field and moving Marshall would allow Freddie Burden and Justin Thomas hold on to the chemistry they have built as a quarterback-center tandem.
Marshall stays at center and Burden moves to guard
Yes, I do believe that this is a more likely scenario. Why, you may ask? Well, because it has already happened at least once. Remember back with me to the spring practice where Freddie Burden had a hand or wrist injury that required him to where a cast on his right hand, thus making it impossible to snap the ball. Since he couldn’t snap, he was moved to guard during the spring allowing Marshall to step in at center.
Other than that, I would use the exact same reasoning as the first scenario: get the five best offensive linemen on the field.
I don’t exactly know how it will go down, but I think that come Fall, we will see Andrew Marshall on the offensive line doing a pretty good job.