While Ja’Marr Chase gets most of the publicity, his historic production is going to another LSU wide receiver. Junior wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. entered the season poised to recoup the NFL Draft value potentially being sacrificed by Chase’s opt-out, and already, he’s delivered on those expectations. Now, Marshall is not just an ascending weapon for the Tigers, but also a legitimate NFL Draft prospect.
Terrace Marshall Jr. NFL Draft Profile
Weight: 200 pounds
Position: Wide Receiver
Terrace Marshall Jr. isn’t a known commodity in all circles, but that’s more due to the talent that was above him on the LSU wide receiver depth chart in 2019. LSU enjoyed historic production from Ja’Marr Chase and Vikings first-round pick Justin Jefferson in their national championship campaign. While Marshall still put up respectable stats (46 catches for 671 yards and 13 touchdowns), he ultimately fell under the radar in relation to his fellow WRs.
In truth, however, Marshall Jr. has been a highly-regarded player since the start, and it was a matter of when, not if, for his eventual breakout. Marshall Jr. was one of the top players in the 2018 recruiting class. ESPN rated Marshall Jr. as the No. 2 overall receiver recruit in the nation, as well as the top-ranked recruit in the state of Louisiana.
Marshall Jr. was a five-star prospect. By the end of his recruiting cycle, he had scholarship offers from over two dozen schools, including blue-bloods such as LSU, Alabama, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, Florida, and Auburn.
Marshall Jr. went on visits to LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, and Florida State, and in the end, he decided to stay close to the bayou and suit up for Ed Orgeron’s squad. He saw action right away in his true freshman season, accumulating 12 catches for 192 yards. His playmaking ability was evident from the start, but now, after inheriting a premier role from his predecessors, he’s finally realizing his potential.
Terrace Marshall Jr. opts out, officially declares for 2021 NFL Draft
It’s official: wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. has opted out of the remainder of the LSU Tigers’ football season. He will begin preparations for the 2021 NFL Draft, only adding to the strong depth of the 2021 receiver class.
The 2020 college football season didn’t go as planned for the defending national champions, as LSU has gone 3-4 through the first seven games. But despite the team’s overall struggles in SEC play, Marshall Jr. was generally a steady performer on offense. Marshall Jr. only fell below 50 yards receiving in one game, and he scored a touchdown in all but two games.
After kicking off the year with four straight multi-touchdown performances, Marshall Jr. cooled off a bit against Auburn and Arkansas, totaling 11 receptions and just 85 yards through that two-week stretch. But Marshall Jr. ended the season on a high note, amassing 10 catches for 134 yards and a score in LSU’s recent 20-7 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies.
Looking at Marshall Jr.’s 2020 season as a whole, the junior receiver saw a production increase given the absence of Ja’Marr Chase. Despite the losses of Joe Brady and Joe Burrow, which decreased the team’s overall offensive output, Marshall Jr. still exceeded his statistical totals from last year, logging 731 yards and ten scores on 48 catches. Had he played a full 12 or 13-game season, Marshall would have likely passed the 1,000-yard mark.
Of course, while Marshall Jr. showed modest growth, he could have done more in that department. At the beginning of the season, he was unstoppable, using his explosiveness and speed to rack up yards in space while using his size and suddenness to win battles as a route runner. But Marshall’s slight decline before his final game obstructed the upward trajectory, and by the end of the year, Marshall Jr. left questions unanswered, among them: Can he play to his 6-foot-3 size consistently? Can he contribute as a run blocker?
Marshall Jr. has exhausted his last chance to answer these questions at the collegiate level, but if he performs well at the NFL Combine, as he’s expected to, he can convince NFL teams that the investment into his athletic profile will be worth the risk. While the LSU wide receiver needs more refinement, his size-speed combination is undoubtedly something he can build his game around. As of now, Marshall Jr. has played his way into a likely second-day selection. Can the next phase of the process bump him up even further?
Terrace Marshall ups reception production versus the Razorbacks, but buzz starts to fade
For the second week in a row, LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. failed to reach the end zone for the LSU Tigers after reaching the end zone at least two times in each of his first four games. But while Marshall was a non-factor on the scoreboard itself, he did reprise his role as a regular threat in the offense, catching seven passes for 57 yards.
While other games have been defining outings for Terrace Marshall and his 2021 NFL Draft stock, the Arkansas game was more of an exercise of affirmation for Marshall. He wasn’t the team’s most pivotal player, and he didn’t funnel targets his way with his route-running ability, but he did make a respectable impact, even in one of his less productive games.
With that being said, Marshall’s cold streak to close out the year is a bit concerning, and it directly contradicts assumptions that Marshall might have been able to become a context-transcendent threat earlier in the year. Marshall got off to a dominant start to the 2020 season. But in recent weeks, he hasn’t been as elusive when seeking separation, and he hasn’t quite played up to his 6-foot-3 size. He still possesses a very good size-athleticism combination, but the first-round talk for Marshall is starting to subside, and he might be more of a solid Day 2 pick at this point.
Of course, Marshall has more time to re-establish himself as one of the most exciting prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft. LSU’s final three games of the season are all against some of the most explosive SEC offenses. This coming weekend, they face off against Kellen Mond and the Texas A&M Aggies. A week later, they clash with Lane Kiffin, Elijah Moore, and the Ole Miss Rebels, and to close out the year, LSU goes up against Dan Mullen and the unstoppable Florida Gators offense.
There will be times when LSU has to pass the ball in the coming weeks, and there will be opportunities for Marshall to get the buzz back after a midseason lull.
Terrace Marshall Jr. stymied by suffocating Auburn defense
It appears as though aspiring NFL Draft prospect Terrace Marshall Jr. met his match last week against the Auburn Tigers’ defense. LSU was thrashed by Gus Malzahn’s squad, to the tune of 48-11. On the day, LSU’s quarterbacks were a combined 28 of 48 for 315 yards, one touchdown, and three turnovers. That ineptitude trickled to the wide receiver corps, where even Marshall Jr. struggled.
After starting the season with a five-game stretch that never saw him dip below 67 yards and two touchdowns in a given week, Marshall Jr. caught just four passes for 28 yards against the Auburn secondary. As is often the case, the distributors and the playmakers shared the blame for the offense’s lack of fire, and Marshall Jr. was not immune.
Marshall Jr. started off the game quickly with a solid first-down reception, but aside from that, he was largely ineffective. Marshall Jr. has shown the necessary physical traits in the past, but he struggled to separate last Saturday, and he wasn’t as proficient at extending the catch point for his struggling quarterbacks. Additionally, Marshall Jr.’s physicality was noticeably nullified, and he didn’t display a great deal of urgency as a run blocker.
A particularly notable play for Marshall Jr.’s outlook was T.J. Finley’s near-pick-six to Auburn defensive back Nehemiah Pritchett. Finley overthrew Marshall Jr. by a good amount, but Marshall Jr. looked limited in his attempt to rise vertically for the ball. He perhaps could have done more to disrupt the path of the pass, but instead, it sailed unobstructed over his outreached hand and gravitated to a waiting Pritchett, who flipped the field for the Auburn offense.
If Marshall Jr. wants to truly enter the first-round conversation, he needs to more consistently elevate his offense in games where they’re struggling to get going. Marshall Jr. was a non-factor against Auburn, but a standout performance against the Alabama Crimson Tide this coming Saturday could make Marshall Jr.’s Auburn performance a mere blip in an otherwise outstanding junior campaign. Another poor showing, in contrast, could start to chip away at his 2020 progress.
Terrace Marshall Jr. does it all against South Carolina, even with backup QB
The South Carolina game may end up being a defining moment for LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. later on in the NFL Draft process, not only because it was in this game that several of his less apparent traits started to stand out, but also because he continued to produce despite an unexpected change at quarterback.
We all knew that Marshall Jr. was a phenomenal athlete with a rare size-speed combination coming into Week 8. However, there were still some additional elements of receiver play missing from Marshall’s game. Among them, his consistent route running nuance and run-after-catch ability.
Marshall Jr. checked both of those key boxes last Saturday. Even with starting QB Myles Brennan out and true freshman TJ Finley making his first start, Marshall Jr. still drew targets and was, in fact, the favorite target of Finley, catching twice as many passes as the next highest receiver.
In the Tigers’ 52-24 rout of the Gamecocks, Marshall Jr. put up 88 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions, proving to be instrumental in the decisive victory. Each touchdown was unique in that each one displayed a different key trait in Marshall Jr.’s arsenal.
On Marshall Jr.’s first touchdown, his nuance won him the rep. In the red zone, matched up against standout cornerback Jaycee Horn, Marshall Jr. feigned a forward release. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to bait Horn just far enough up the field to get caught up by a designed receiver pick. A separate block cleared out the back corner of the end zone, and all Marshall Jr. had to do was run under a wide-open pass for the score.
On the second touchdown, Marshall Jr. found himself lined up in the slot around the 50-yard line. He ran a slant route and encountered contact as the ball came his way. Rather than being spooked from the catch point, Marshall used his focus to corral the pass, fought through two off-balance tackle attempts, and used a quick juke to throw off the safety. He then hit the open field, where he used his elite speed and explosiveness to lead the defense on an ill-fated chase to the end zone.
In ten seconds, Marshall Jr. showcased quickness, toughness, run-after-catch ability, twitch, and breakaway speed. If he keeps putting together complete reps like that, Terrace Marshall Jr. will rise higher than anyone predicted in the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s now up to 27 catches, 512 yards, and nine touchdowns through just four games, and out of Ja’Marr Chase’s shadow, his solo season is going about as well as it could.
Terrace Marshall Jr. showed off his skills in Week 6
LSU had a bye week in Week 7, but in the team’s Week 6 contest against the Missouri Tigers, Terrace Marshall Jr. had a career day. LSU ended up losing in a high-scoring affair, but their new star wide receiver did everything he could to help the team compete.
Marshall ended up catching 11 passes for 235 yards and three scores against the Missouri defense. He used his speed to take the top off of the secondary on numerous occasions but was also able to use other aspects of his game, such as his size and route-running ability, to excel against the Tigers’ defensive backs.
2020 campaign strengthening Terrace Marshall Jr.’s NFL Draft profile
It’ll take a while for Terrace Marshall Jr. to close the name recognition gap on fellow wide receiver NFL Draft prospect Ja’Marr Chase, but if he keeps up the pace he’s established in the early goings of the 2020 regular season, he can legitimately challenge for a spot in the early rounds.
Through three games, Marshall Jr. is well on his way to becoming the next dynamic LSU receiver prospect. Performances against Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, and Missouri have added up to 21 catches for 474 yards and seven touchdowns on Marshall Jr.’s stat sheet. He’s scored at least twice in every game thus far, and while his stats are impressive, his traits will seal the deal to NFL teams.
Marshall Jr. wins with a complete wide receiver skill set. He stands at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, offering very solid size, but at the same time, he’s a stellar athlete, possessing the deep speed to stretch the field and stress defensive backs in the deep third. Marshall Jr. also offers very good ball tracking ability and body control when securing the catch.
Among other things, the LSU wideout needs to refine his route running and show more overall quickness and twitch, but Terrace Marshall Jr. has the physical skill set to be a premier weapon on the boundary, especially in the intermediate and deep ranges.
Terrace Marshall Jr.’s best fits in the NFL
In the modern NFL, you can never have enough dynamic weaponry in your arsenal, and that’s exactly what LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. will provide, potentially for a discounted price. Marshall Jr. has a rare size-speed combination, which inherently provides him a sort of upside that many teams should be in the market for.
Marshall’s limited run-after-catch production will, to this point, keep him off of certain teams’ draft boards, but his ability to make a quarterback’s job easier with his size and speed by elongating catch windows will inevitably be in high demand. Teams like the Buffalo Bills, the Washington Football Team, the New York Jets, and the Los Angeles Chargers can especially benefit.