During spring camp, redshirt-freshman H-back Jalin Marshall’s status was largely in question after the Middletown, Ohio, native underwent offseason surgery.
Three weeks into the season, those questions are becoming a thing of the past.
Marshall has already made his impact on the Ohio State offense, as he scored his first career touchdown last week against the Kent State Golden Flashes in a 66-0 victory.
Following his first-ever score wearing the Scarlet and Gray, Marshall said he was happy to put the trials and tribulations of the offseason behind him.
“I’ve had some injuries and setbacks, but the journey is worth it,” Marshall said. “This is a great university and crowd to play for. I feel great being able to get in the end zone and help my team every week.”
Coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday that Marshall is continuing to improve each week.
“He has done a nice job. He didn’t play real well early in the year,” Meyer said. “But the last game, he did a good job.”
Meyer said that Marshall’s early issues came from a lack of effort — a problem he is starting to fix.
“His whole issue is just the four-to-six mentality that we got, go as hard as you can. When he goes as hard as he can, he is really good,” Meyer said. “I finally saw that last week, where he put his foot in the ground and even on plays that he didn’t get the ball, he was stretching the defense.”
Since he arrived in Columbus before the 2012 season, Meyer has preached his philosophy of giving four to six seconds of effort from point A to point B on every play.
Despite Marshall only amassing seven total offensive touches thus far on the season, Meyer said he can envision the redshirt-freshman splitting more time with fellow H-back, sophomore Dontre Wilson.
“The good thing is he is very knowledgeable about all spots,” Meyer said. “If (Marshall) keeps moving up the ladder, those two (he and Wilson) will be on the field at the same time.”
Marshall electrified Ohio Stadium on Saturday when he nearly broke a Kent State punt for a touchdown, but he was cut down by the punter following a 51-yard return.
Although the punt return was the longest by a Buckeye this year, Meyer said Saturday he teased Marshall before ultimately praising his and other young players’ efforts.
“One guy (Marshall) got caught by a punter, I think, and so we’ll give those guys a hard time,” Meyer said Saturday with a smile. “But I think I’m really excited about our young skill, and I was hoping to try to get Buckeye nation and the stadium to see some of those guys out in open space, and (freshman running back) Curtis Samuel and Dontre and Jalin are — just off the top of my head — guys I’m excited to get out in open space.”
Senior wide receiver Evan Spencer said the reason so many young guys have earned playing time is not because of a lack of production from the upperclassmen, but rather the impressive showing from the younger athletes.
“Everybody has their own skill sets that everybody specializes in,” Spencer said Wednesday. “We are all great athletes, we are all great receivers and because we all are succeeding in certain areas of our game, that’s why so many guys are getting playing time.”
In fact, 23 true and redshirt-freshman saw playing time against the Golden Flashes last week.
After a bye week, the Buckeyes are scheduled to take on the Cincinnati Bearcats on Sept. 27 at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.