- All Keith Marshall wants to do is play football. It's why he came back to the field the moment he received medical clearance last season, even though pain lingered where he tore his right anterior cruciate ligament. In total, Marshall's midseason ACL tear in 2013 has forced him to miss 18 of Georgia's past 26 games. With Marshall sidelined, Nick Chubb emerged as Georgia's next running back star after running for 1,547 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman. Marshall's close friend Todd Gurley, despite his own ACL tear in 2014, was taken by the St. Louis Rams with the 10th overall selection in the 2015 NFL draft. Sophomore running back Sony Michel even had a breakout game of his own, going for 155 yards and two touchdowns on only 10 carries in a win against Troy. All Marshall could do was watch others play the game he loves. Declaring himself 100 percent, Marshall said he's looking forward to displaying the kind of speed he was known for during a freshman campaign three seasons ago that saw him go for 759 yards and eight touchdowns.
"I'm confident in myself and my abilities," Marshall said. "My biggest thing was getting healthy and I'm healthy now." The concern with Marshall is whether he lost a step after going through ACL surgery and a lengthy rehab that featured a setback. Marshall admitted his knee injury is the sole reason he hasn't been able to play and not anything else. Wanting to show he can still play at this level, Marshall's teammates said they believe his speed is back to where it was two years ago. "I remember watching games," said Chubb, who was a high school junior during Marshall's freshman season at Georgia. "I remember he was very fast. I see that now." Marshall once clocked a 40-yard dash in the 4.3-second range and was among the highest-rated running backs in the country at Millbrook High School in Raleigh, N.C. - Jason Butt, The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer