ATHENS — About last season, Keith Marshall says there were no grand conspiracies and there are no hard feelings about how it went down.
The recently-graduated tailback turned a lot of heads in Indianapolis this past week when he not only ran the NFL Combine’s fastest 40-yard dash time — a 4.29 on one run, 4.31 officially — but also benched-pressed 225 pounds more times (25) than any other running back participating, including Alabama’s Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry.
Marshall also performed well in the position drills. Most importantly, he also checked out 100 percent well in the intensive medical examination.
Naturally, Georgia fans were left to wonder why they didn’t see more of Marshall on the field this past season. A senior academically but with another year of eligibility remaining after this past one, Marshall opted to turn pro at the end of the season and carried the ball just 68 times for 351 yards and three touchdowns while playing in 11 games.
Sophomore Sony Michel got the bulk of the carries after starter Nick Chubb was lost for the year to a knee injury in the season’s sixth game against Tennessee. Michel, a rising junior, finished with 1,161 yards and eight TDs and an average of 89.3 yards per game.
“You know, I think I was healthy and could contribute at a high level,” Marshall said in an interview as he drove to Raleigh from Athens late Wednesday evening. “I just think certain things happen. You know, it is what it is. It’s in the past now, so it really doesn’t matter.”
Midway through the season, Marshall did aggravate knee and ankle injuries that sidelined him for the previous year. Marshall had to have reconstructive surgery after suffering an ACL tear and other injuries against Tennessee in 2013. But for the most part, he said he was close to 100 percent healthy most of the season.
That said, Marshall said he has no hard feelings about the way he was handled last year or at any time in his career with the Bulldogs.
“Oh, no,” he said. “You know, I love Georgia, the fan base, the coaches, everything about Georgia.”
Marshall granted an extensive interview to DawgNation on Wednesday as he traveled home to Raleigh to attend the funeral of his paternal grandmother, Helen Marshall. Ms. Marshall passed away after an extended illness on the morning of Feb. 26. That’s the day Marshall clocked his incredible 40 time in Indianapolis.
Check back to DawgNation this afternoon to read a full account of Wednesday night’s interview with Marshall.