LSU star Terrace Marshall Jr. shows growth as receiver, leader
LSU has been vying for the title ‘DBU’ for quite some time due to the string of defensive back talent that has been funneled to the NFL. The Tigers might be able to make a case as ‘WR-U’ for the same reason.
Since 2006, 15 LSU wide receivers have heard their names called in the NFL draft with four taken in the first round (Dwayne Bowe and Craig Davis in 2007, Odell Beckham, Jr. in 2014 and Justin Jefferson in 2020). Three more were selected in round two (Rueben Randle in 2012, Jarvis Landry in 2014 and D.J. Chark in 2018).
It’s quite possible that two more Tiger wide outs may hear their names called in the first round of the ’21 NFL draft, Ja’Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall, Jr. If he chooses to leave LSU early, Marshall will go high. His NFL stock has soared. He is viewed by NFL scouts as one of the premier offensive players in this entire class.
Marshall has 27 grabs for 512 yards and nine touchdowns thus far this season in just four games, despite drawing the lion’s share of the opponent’s attention. He is coming off a 46-catch performance for 671 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2019, playing third fiddle to Jefferson and Chase. His 22 career touchdown catches place him fourth all-time among LSU receivers. Dwayne Bowe claims the top spot with 26.
As a five-star prospect out of Parkway High in Bossier City, Marshall saw his senior campaign cut short after snapping his left ankle during the second quarter in the second game of the 2017 season against Pearl (Miss.). Earning all-city honors in both football and basketball, he also was selected all-district in the high jump. MArshall has never had a problem demonstrating his overall athletic skills and ability to dominate. The injury took patience, commitment and time to heal.
“Growing up, my parents always taught me about character,” MArshall explained. “Everything that I do every day is based on character. Setting good example for those watching me and the younger kids coming up.”
The late Joe Delaney is Terrace’s uncle. Delaney’s life was cut short tragcially when he drowned at age 24 attempting to save the lives of three young boys struggling in the water. Although Delaney died 37 years ago and Terrace never got to meet him, he greatly admires the former NFL Pro Bowl running back who played at NorthWestern State with Marshall’s current head coach Ed Orgeron.
“I’m always hearing about him from Coach O and people around me that were close, my family. He was a great person. I’m living in the moment trying to create my own legacy. Pick up where he left (off).”
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Marshall became the first LSU receiver since Travin Dural in 2014 to catch three touchdowns in a season opener when he turned the trick against Georgia Southern in ’19. His 11-catch effort for 235 yards and three touchdowns against Missouri this season gave him the fourth most receiving yards in a single game in school history.
The junior receiver keeps getting better. He worked hard to fine tune his skills this offseason, not just for individual gain but for the success of the team.
“Over quarantine, I worked with my trainer. I focused on blocking. I want to block better, focused on route running, sinking my hips, trying to get smaller. I worked on almost every area of my game.”
Young underclassmen comprise the rest of LSU’s top receiving options. Sophomore Jaray Jenkins (11-204 yards) and a pair of freshmen – Arik Gilbert (16-204 yards, 2 TD’s) and Kayshon Boutte (10-120 yards) – have all benefited from Marshall’s contributions and leadership. Marshall understands it’s a team effort that makes all of them successful.
“It’s always good to have several people catching passes,” Marshall explained. “It makes the offense unpredictable. We spread the ball around a lot. We give it to our backs. Our offense will just keep clicking.”
Orgeron appreciates Marshall’s growth as a player in all aspects.
“He became a team leader, vocal young man. He’s the leader. He was in the background a little bit, kept quiet. I think the big thing with Terrace was to get healthy. Now he’s healthy. He’s confident. He comes off the field, man, Coach, I want the ball. You want that in all receivers. He’s very confident right now and healthy.”
Orgeron feels like Terrace’s versatility and athleticism separate him from the rest of the pack, earning additional opportunities. Late in the second quarter last week against South Carolina, Marshall ran a simple slant pattern which turned into a 51-yard scoring jaunt primarily due to individual effort.
“We can put Terrace anywhere,” Orgeron declared. “He could probably play QB. He knows the offense. He feels confident. The yards after catch. He catches that slant, goes for that touchdown, breaks two tackles. I think that’s where you see him making a bunch of improvement. He’s tall, is a big target, has great hands. Yards after catch has been tremendous. He has an awareness level, very smooth, good athlete. Like having three of four different receivers.”
It’s all about team with Terrace.
“We’re paving the way,” he said. “Just like when Odell and Jarvis were here. They were paving the way . I’m just happy to be a part of paving the way for the rest of the kids. I want to be able to play smart and play big. That’s the best of both worlds.”
LSU sits at 2-2, coming off the impressive win over South Carolina. The offense made strides in the running game and hope to duplicate that balanced effort this week against Auburn.
The offense ran for 276 yards against Carolina, averaging 5.1 yards per try in compiling 541 total yards. The Tigers converted 8-of-10 on 3rd down after going 0-for-10 at Missouri. They are seeking success through consistency and balance.
“The running opens up the passing game,” Marshall stated. “Whenever they run like they did last weekend, it opens up a lot more things for us down the field. As long as (running backs) keep doing their job and receivers keep doing their job, this offense will have no limits.”
Speaking of unlimited, there appear to be no limits to what Marshall can do.
SEC WEST TIGERS TANGLE
LSU leads the all-time series with Auburn 31-22-1. The Bengal Tigers have prevailed the past three matchups.
Memorable games (many have their own names):
-1988 Earthquake game
-1994 Interception game
-1996 Night the Barn burned (LSU wins 19-15 as fire rages outside Jordan-Hare Stadium)
-2005 LSU wins in overtime thriller
-2007 Matt Flynn to Demetrius Byrd on last second touchdown for a 30-24 LSU victory.
-2016 Auburn’s Daniel Carlson kicks six field goals in 18-13 Auburn win. Les Miles fired next day.
-2018 grad transfer Cole Tracy converts on 42-yard field goal at the gun to push LSU to a 22-21 win.
Current Louisiana Players on Auburn roster:
#24 CB Eric Reid, freshman, Calvary Baptist
#41 Walk-on Erik Piedy, sophomore, Archbishop Rummel
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, Rene Nadeau has been involved in sports ever since his earliest memories. Rene played basketball, wrestled, ran track, and was an All-District running back in football at John F. Kennedy High School. He went on to be a member of the LSU football program, developing a passion for the game in even…