Why Nick Marshall Should be a Heisman Contender in 2014
A year after winning only two games, and going winless in the SEC, head coach Gus Malzahn led an unthinkable turnaround as the team of destiny marched to a conference championship and played for the national title in January.
The reason for the Tigers' success was based around their high-tempo offense, which consisted of a ridiculously good rushing attack that was led by running back Tre Mason and quarterback Nick Marshall.
Now, with the former off to the NFL, the latter will take center stage in Malzahn's mad scheme in 2014.
And, that's precisely why Marshall will have a legitimate shot to bring Auburn its fourth Heisman trophy winner in the school's history.
Marshall did just fine in his first year in Malzahn's system, as even though he only threw for 14 touchdowns (which isn't that low considering that Auburn is nowhere near a traditional passing team), he ran for 12 and went for over 1,000 yards on the ground.
And, ya know, he led his team to the BCS national title game.
The fact of the matter is that Marshall is only going to get better. After being in complete control of the offense as the 2013 season progressed, he'll get more and more comfortable in spring practice. Then, once the 2014 season gets underway, he'll get more and more comfortable as the games go along.
His numbers are going to be phenomenal next season. Barring injury, I don't think there's any doubt about that.
Very few people in college football have proved able to stop Malzahn's offenses at this point, and with an improved Marshall at the helm to go along with playmaking wide receivers, Auburn is going to continue to be successful.
In doing so, they'll score a ton of points, which will in turn boost Marshall's numbers week in and week out. It wouldn't be all that surprising to see him surpass 20 touchdowns in both passing and rushing.
Even though competition from defending Heisman winner Jameis Winston and other top talent around the country will be fierce, Marshall is in a situation that is Heisman friendly -- he's the number one option on one of the best offenses in the nation.
So, to put himself in the mix for the greatest individual prize in the sport, all he has to do now is embrace the role and find new ways to carve up opposing defenses.
If he does that, and Auburn is once again competing for an SEC championship, Marshall's name will be on the Heisman ballot when the 2014 ceremony rolls around in December.
What are your thoughts on Marshall's 2014 Heisman chances? Let us know by commenting below! For more college football talk, follow FanIQ College Football or myself on Twitter!