Florida football is prepping to bounce back from a 6-7 season that flat out didn’t meet their standards. And one of the guys that will be instrumental in that is Jason Marshall Jr.
Marshall came to Gainesville in the class of 2021 as one of the highest-rated players in the country. 247 Sports had him as the 25th-best player in the nation, the third-best corner, and the 5th-best player coming out of Florida.
And after a promising freshman campaign, Gator fans were confident that they had another elite DB rising in their ranks.
But in Florida’s awful defense last season, it felt like Marshall took a step back. There were coverage busts and tackling problems galore, leading to a lack of optimism around anybody on that side of the ball.
But taking a deeper dive into what Marshall did last year shows us that he is still the great player we thought he was.
In 336 coverage snaps last season, he allowed zero touchdowns and had eight pass breakups, as well as an interception.
That zero touchdown part is what sticks out. In a Gator defense that seemed to welcome opposing teams to score, Jason wasn’t having any part of it.
His speed and length prevented receivers from gaining tons of separation, and we had the endzone on lock.
Those numbers are impressive enough on their own, but we need to look at the context to really understand it.
Patrick Toney’s defense was historically bad last year. It couldn’t stop anybody on third down, and opposing teams seemed to always have momentum moving the ball.
But Marshall didn’t use that as an excuse to take plays off and let them score. He did his job and locked it down.
This season, with Austin Armstrong as the DC, the Gator defense figures to be more aggressive, more physical, and just all-around better.
Don’t be surprised when you see Jason Marshall Jr. right at the center of it.
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