ATHENS — Both of these things are correct: Keith Marshall is a senior, and he has two years of eligibility remaining. Confused? Let’s clear it up.
Marshall, now in his fourth year at Georgia, was eligible to apply for a medical redshirt. He just hasn’t done it yet, because he hasn’t decided whether he will return next season.
“I’ll cross that bridge when I get there,” Marshall said this week. “I definitely have another year of eligibility. I’ll get the medical redshirt if I apply for it.”
That should be true, because Marshall only played in three games last year before his knee problems prevented him from returning. The NCAA rule is if you play past the fourth game then you’re ineligible for the medical redshirt. That’s why Marshall couldn’t get one in 2013, as he tore his ACL in the fifth game. (A player may request the medical redshirt after any season. They have to wait until after their fifth season if they want a sixth year of eligibility.)
So if Marshall wants to come back in 2016, he will apply after this season, but he’s letting the season go before he decides, right?
“Yeah,” Marshall said, leaving it at that.
Some may wonder why Marshall wouldn’t come back next year, considering he has Nick Chubb and Sony Michel ahead of him, and thus is unlikely to vault himself into high NFL draft consideration. Well, it’s not as simple as that.
Marshall will be 22 in February. He’s close to getting his degree. Most importantly, tailbacks don’t tend to have long pro careers, so the sooner they can start making money, the better. Plus, Chubb and Michel should both still be around next year, when they’d be juniors.
Georgia coach Mark Richt hinted at all this way back in December, when someone asked him how important it was for Marshall to get a medical redshirt, and have two more years, rather than just one.
“I think time will tell. If he’s here two seasons from now, and he helps us win a bunch of games then we’ll say it was an awesome thing,” Richt said. “If he plays next season and feels like it’s time to move on, it won’t be that big of a deal I guess.”