Posted: 11:20 pm Monday, March 24th, 2014

Auburn’s Gus Malzahn: Ex-UGA DB Nick Marshall is NFL prospect at QB 

By Michael Carvell

Gus Malzahn (right) and QB Nick Marshall came within 13 seconds of winning a national title in their first year together (AP)

Auburn’s Gus Malzahn (right) and QB Nick Marshall came within 13 seconds of winning a national title in their first year together (AP)

Perhaps no out-of-state college recruited Georgia better than Auburn this year.

The SEC school, coming off an appearance in the BCS championship game, signed 24 players last month, including 10 from the state of Georgia.

“I think’s it’s a 1 and 1A type of deal,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn told the AJC on Monday. He was asked about the importance of recruiting Georgia after his home turf of Alabama.

“Georgia is very important to our success here. If you look back at the championship-type teams we’ve had at Auburn, we’ve had a lot of players from the state of Georgia. We’re going to continue to recruit that state very hard.”

There are many other reasons for Auburn’s success in Georgia, including location (the school campus is 30 minutes away from the state line, and a short 90-minute drive up I-85 to the fertile recruiting grounds of Atlanta) and dedicated resources (Malzhan said almost every one of his assistants are in charge of recruiting both parts of Alabama and Georgia). And, of course, Auburn was one of college football’s best stories last year with the one-year turnaround under Malzahn.

DT Dontavius Russell (247sports)

DT Dontavius Russell (247sports)

Auburn’s top 2014 signee out of Georgia was St. Pius high school defensive back Nick Ruffin, who was rated as the state’s No. 4 overall prospect.

The Tigers also got a big recruiting win by signing Carrollton High School defensive tackle Dontavius Russell, who flipped from UGA to Auburn. Russell’s uncle played on the same Auburn football team with current Auburn defensive line coach Rodney Garner, the former UGA recruiting coordinator.

“Dontavius had some family connections here, and they had some very good experiences when they were here,” Malzhan said. “Coach Garner had a very good relationship with him and his family, and he was a good fit for us.

Here’s the rest of Monday’s Q&A with Auburn assistant Gus Malzahn:

Your quarterback, Nick Marshall, played at UGA and is from Wilcox County High School. Your offensive coordinator said Marshall can play QB in the NFL, “without question.” Nobody knows QBs like you do. What do you think about Marshall as an NFL QB prospect? “There’s no doubt about that. What he did last season with not going through (the previous) spring, with only having two weeks under his belt before the season started with reps the first group – and he led us to 13 seconds within winning the whole thing. He’s off to a great start. I think there’s no doubt about that.”

I’d say Nick Marshall and LSU’s Zach Mettenberger of North Oconee High School are two of the strongest arms I’ve ever seen out of Georgia high schools. “Yeah, Nick has got a rifle. There’s no doubt about that.”

I think comparisons are unfair, but do you think Nick Marshall has a stronger arm than Cam Newton? “That’s hard to tell. That’s hard to say. The ball comes out of his hand very well.”

Former Milton High School defensive end Carl Lawson is the highest-rated recruit you’ve signed at Auburn in your two recruiting classes. He was rated No. 2 overall in the nation by ESPN. Based on only one season, has Lawson lived up to the hype so far? “Well, he is off to a good start. He did a lot for us as a true freshman. He helped us get to where we are. This spring will be very good for him, and he seems to be getting more comfortable. Yes, we have high expectations. He is an impact player. He showed that at time last year. He is just working on getting more consistent. But yes, he is an impact player.”

Auburn signed 10 kids out of Georgia this year, including Under Armour All-America defensive back Kalvaraz Bessent of Camden County High School. Bessent got into some off-the-field trouble after signing day but was cleared of all charges. You researched the situation for a month before deciding to allow him to join the team this summer. What made you stick by Kalvaraz? “Well, he will come in with the rest of our recruits, and he will be on probationary status.”

Another SEC school got a commitment from a QB still in middle school. What is your policy on offering kids at such a young age? How young is too young? “We don’t set the age or anything. I think you’ve got to be realistic with yourself or your program when you offer young guys, and do your homework the best you can.”

What is one NCAA rule you’d like to see changed or modified to make recruiting better for everybody? “There’s not one thing that really stands out to me. I’m OK with operating the way we are.”

Are you in favor of an early signing period? If so, how would you do it? “I think there’s positives to both. But I’m OK with how we are doing things now. I really don’t have an opinion on how to do an early signing period.”

Impressive debut at Auburn (AP)

Impressive debut at Auburn (AP)

How much negative recruiting do you think is out there? Because when a big-time job opens, whether it’s at Texas or the NFL, your name may get thrown out there automatically because of your success. Of course, you don’t have anything to do with that, but recruits hear that it and worry. “That’s kind of hard for me say. I think you just develop relationships with recruits. You just be honest with them. Most of them, if you’re in a relationship with them, they trust what you are saying.”

You’re relatively new to Twitter, but you’re really good. How do you think Twitter impacts recruiting? “I think the young kids today, that’s how they communicate. It’s different from when I grew up, but that’s where the world is at. And that’s where they communicate. I think the guys (colleges coaches) that aren’t on it are probably at a disadvantage.”

Do you take into account what prospective student-athletes tweet? Do you look at a kid’s Twitter account while doing your overall research? “I think when you are trying to recruit a kid, you investigate everything you can about that young man. You try to gather as much information as you can.”

What did you think about the negative backlash on Twitter directed at Rashaan Evans after he picked Alabama over Auburn? “I think that nobody should be going after young kids with anything negative.”

Twitter gives everybody a public platform to praise or complain. Do you read your Twitter “mentions” when people tweet at you? “No, not really.”

Are you on Instagram or thinking about it? “Uh, no.”

What’s your message to Georgia’s elite 2015 on why they ought to consider Auburn? “Auburn is a great place. It’s a place you win championships and get a great degree in a very healthy atmosphere.”

  • RELATED: Some good news for Auburn with QB commit Tyler Queen of North Cobb High School. Queen injured his right elbow while pitching for his high school baseball team, and there were fears that he might have to undergo Tommy John surgery and miss his senior season of football. Queen and his father drove to see Dr. James Andrews on Monday, and got a positive report. “No surgery,” his father said. “Tyler will be shut down 5-6 weeks for rehab so it has time to heal. He will start back easy throwing in May.”

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135 comments
HotDawg
HotDawg

Sweater vest/visor man is jumping way ahead of himself. I'll bet the nfl has very different view.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Mason will have more td passes than Marshall will. Marshall will not make it in the NFL as a qb. Aaron Murray will have great nfl career! Book it!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

No, Nick Marshall is not an NFL QB.

FrankFraticelli
FrankFraticelli

His most famous pass was deflected into his receivers arms  and he wrapped up another win on a miracle play. If Auburn loses those two games what you would be hearing is how the QB competition at Auburn is wide open this Spring. NFL QB? Really? Based on what? Aaron Murray....holds every SEC record known to man against the best defenses in the country out of a pro style offense - that is an NFL prosect. 

Dawg350
Dawg350

Hutson Mason will throw for more yardage than nick Marshall will this season! Book it!

Dawg350
Dawg350

UGA will have the best team in America!!!!! Gurley will win the heisman baby!!!

POAD2013
POAD2013

Nick was DUMB for not picking The INSTITUTE when he was offered to play QB in an Offense that he could excel at. 

Nick was all MUTT DUMB and look what that did for him. 

Wasted years in Athens and JUCO to get back to D 1 ball.

Nick you should have been SMART and taken the GEORGIA TECH OFFER and you would have been on the D1 field the last 2 years.

FGT
FGT

at what point does gt move to north fulton co?

FGT
FGT

since gt runs a jr. high O, I would call au's a high school O.

FGT
FGT

Nobody cares about this program. They are the catfish of the sea. They celebrate with toilet paper. They think Jim Beam is scotch. They want to be BAMA.

NCDawg
NCDawg

Nick Marshall has the tools no doubt.  The real question is can he overcome not being able to read a defense in another style of offense.  He isn't particularly accurate and he makes rash decisions under pressure.  Sometimes you luck out on those ( as any UGA fan knows).  But his reads out of Malzahn's offense are different from what he will be asked to do in the NFL.  He will have to get up to speed in a great big hurry prior to the combine or his Pro day.  The grilling he will get will expose his inexperience big time.


He is a nearly perfect fit for what Auburn runs but I don't think he can transition to the NFL mearly as smoothly as Newton did.  Keep an eye on his decision making and accuracy this year.  If these improve dramatically then he might just have a chance.  Otherwise he will be drafted as a project.  He could also try to take more chances in the passing game and expose his decision making even further.  I'd say it's a 50/50 shot that this is what ends up happening.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Who cares! Auburn sucks and UGA rules! UGA is back baby! Go dawgs!

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

Nick Marshall made some throws last year that were unreal. He has an entire spring that he didnot have last year. If he has a little improvement he will be aheisman finalist.

He also has more weapons on the outside then last year with that JUCO reciever who was the number one JUCO. His entire OL returns except for one which is huge as well.

JackClemens
JackClemens

Marshall can be an NFL quarterback in the way that John Parker Wilson and David Greene were NFL quarterbacks.

MoistDawg
MoistDawg

auburn is ranked #3 all time in most seasons on probation (11). should be more

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

I stand by my prediction that if Marshall insist on playing Quarterback in the Pro's he will last no more than 3 years. He may get 3 more as a back up. If he will learn the Defensive Back position he will have a starting role for at least 10 years.

I predict that Auburn loses 4 maybe 5 games in 2014. 

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

I don't think there should ever again be an interview with an Auburn football coach where 'the big question' is not asked...namely, what has been your involvement, or awareness, of the roles Bobby Lowder, Milton McGregor, 'Bag-Man' Trooper Taylor, et al, played in Auburn's 'Play-For-Pay' history? And how would you react if/when you were asked to condone or, in fact, participate? Would you balk like it's been reported that Bowden and Tubberville did (and got fired for it), or would you 'go along' like just about every other one one since Shug Jordan?

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@Dawg350 God its 350, I thought you had went to take a crap and the hogs ate ya.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@DawgGoneIt  Neither is David Greene, DJ Shockley, Eric Zeier, Cox or Box Score Aaron Murray.

POAD2013
POAD2013

@Dawg350  WOW what a Brilliant and Bold statement..

NICK will Win MORE games than MASON....BOOK IT!


POAD2013
POAD2013

@Dawg350  Email me and I will bet you $100 on each of those Statements.

Do you have $200 to make that bet?

I will take that bet. The wheels on your Mobile home don't count as payment of the bet either.

So you are the MAN you run your mouth that you are and make a bet on your statements.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Puddle of doo doo

Why in the hell would he go to tech??? When he is playing in the sec?? You're a crack addict.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@POAD2013 sociopath... who are you to say anything about anyone's intelligence?  You are deranged.  Your brain doesn't work correctly and the evidence is all over these blogs.  Get your own act together before you criticize someone else.


Your pettiness is beyond disgusting.  He would have had zero chance to get to the NFL playing QB in you garbage can scavenger's high school offense.  He made the correct choice at the time and screwed it up with his actions.  


How about this sociopath... YOU are dumb for spending virtually every waking moment trolling blogs with the intent to find anything to disparage a school.  A school.  What a joke of a life you must have.


There did you like that?  Of course you didn't but it is more true than your petty jabs at people who aren't here to respond.  That makes you a c-o-w-a-r-d.  You must be the pride of your family.

C-Kirk
C-Kirk

@MoistDawg  

When you go on probation that much don't you have to learn how not to get caught? I agree it should be more. They deal in cash and take the FIFTH when questioned. They have made the NCAA  look like fools and amateurs lately. 

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

No way Marshall gets a look at QB in the NFL. He can't hit a bull in the azz with a base fiddle.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

Auburn was recruting Jamis Winston hard and Gus was apart of the coaches working JW. They made some mistakes in their approact (violations ) and then backed away on recruiting him. That is the way they work. They cheat and see if they get where they want and if their  approach fails then they backup away from recruiting the player and take the secondary violation. They did the same with Chris Jones Bama receiver. Risk/reward.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@DirtyDawg I dont guess that Jan Kemp scandal really happened right? All schools have had they're not so proud moments.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Card

Hogs?......no your mom didn't eat me! Lmfao!

NCDawg
NCDawg

@POAD2013 @DawgGoneIt You're a joke.  Greene was in the NFL the same 3 years Hamilton was.  Shockley was with the Falcons for 4 1/2 years.  Do the research before flapping your mouth sociopath.  Again, more evidence of how your psychotic hatred of the University has fried your brain (if you had one to begin with).

LMAO!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@POAD2013 @DawgGoneIt  Well the book is still yet to be written on Murray. We'll see. Our boy Stafford sure is doing good though with the Lions who took him #1 overall

Dawg350
Dawg350

Poad

Neither is joe smoking pot Hamilton.....Shaun can't throw the ball jones.....or George slow godsey.....reggie 5th down ball.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@POAD2013 @FrankFraticelli  Good one. He beat #6 ranked SC in week 2 and #6 ranked LSU in week 4. And was a missed FG away from beating #8 ranked Clemson in the opener. Also beat #2 ranked Florida in 2012. Came a couple yards shy of beating #1 ranked Alabama in the 2012 SEC CG in which he had an MVP type performance. All the game winning drives he led in 2013 was miraculous. Don't give us that crap. And he finished 3-0 vs. Tech. Too bad Tech was never ranked, Murray's record vs. ranked opponents would be better. Tech could only dream of having a QB someday as great as Murray was for UGA both on AND off the field.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Poad

I don't live in a mobile home jack squat. I bet you are one of those homeless bums sleeping on the side corner near the savannah suites!lol

POAD2013
POAD2013

@Dawg350  WRONG. how many years did he lose by choosing the FELON U called thUGa?

POAD2013
POAD2013

@NCDawg OUCH I think I stepped on a Mutts Nutz.

Nick made the WRONG CHOICE in choosing UGa and the PROOF is in the pudding. Cam Newton was going to be a TE at UGa and LMMFAO he is a QB in the NFL. UGa talent evaluator SUCK.

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

He sure was on target against bammer. The TD to the tight end was impressive.

AlternativeDawg
AlternativeDawg

As opposed to having creepy white oldmen takerecruits to the beach for a weekend before signing day. How is Calloway by the way? Or....paying 150K to acoach to get aplayer to sign.

Bama talking about other teams cheating is like Pablo Escobar chastising nickel bag dealers.

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Jan Kemp called Georgia out fôr using the 'remedial' program - an option that was available to all UGA students in order for those that were having problems with their academics to remain in school - for athletes. A practice that was being used at every SEC school (with perhaps the exception of Vandy) at the time. Georgia, along with the rest of the conference, discontinued it that next year. Meanwhile, Auburn's just 'laying low'.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@POAD2013 @NCDawg look it up. He played 3 years in the NFL.  Played for the Bucs from 2000-2002. Was allocated to the NFL Europe in 2002.  He played 1 game for the Colts and was released during the season. If you count a partial season then he was in the NFL 4 years but Shockly was there for 5 if you use that methodology.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@POAD2013 @DawgGoneIt  I've owned you with facts numerous times so I think I'd look in the mirror before I called someone an idiot. How old are you 12?

POAD2013
POAD2013

@DawgGoneIt try doing some RESEARCH. You are on the NET so look it up you IDIOT.

Dawg350
Dawg350

Godsey.....never played in the NFL and Shaun jones didn't either....so shut your mouth you met head....I bet eat meth in a cough drop form...just pull one right out of your pocket!

POAD2013
POAD2013

@Dawg350  Hamilton played longer in the NFL than Zeier, Greene and DJ. Godsey is a COACH in the NFL. Shawn Jones threw better than Suck Belue. 

Belue passed for 3145 yards and 21 TDs.

Jones passed for 8441 yards and 51 TDs.

You really are an IDIOT.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@POAD2013 @NCDawgYou didn't do anything to me you coward.  You flap your big, insane mouth about people who aren't here to respond because you know you'd sh!t your pants before you could say any of it in person.  That is why you are a coward.  I say nothing here I wouldn't say to someone in person.


Cam Newton again?  Hmmmm... who does everyone think is the best coach in college football?  Oh Nick Saban.  Coach Saban didn't offer Newton coming out of HS.  And he didn't offer him coming out of JUCO either.  Oh so he must be terrible at talent evaluation.  Nailed your flush sociopath!  Talking about squashed bug nuts!  LMFAO!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@POAD2013 @NCDawg  Is that why we're 12-1 against the Bugs since 2001? Is that why Gurley is the best back in college football? Is that why Murray broke numerous SEC and UGA records? Is that why we gave Jarvis Jones a shot after he had not been medically cleared NUMEROUS times by USC, he comes to UGA and becomes a 1st round draft pick? Is that why Matthew Stafford went #1 overall in 2009? Is that why Knowshon Moreno was the RB for the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl this season behind Peyton Manning? Is that why UGA is 2nd to only LSU in the SEC in sending players to the NFL? Because they're such TERRIBLE talent evaluators.