A year ago, Georgia Tech offensive tackle Andrew Marshall was heading into his senior season when he tore a ligament in his foot in a one-on-one drill in practice.
On track to graduate from Tech with a business administration degree, moving on to start a professional career seemed a reasonable decision. However, Marshall chose to return for a second shot at his senior season. Marshall, who has played 33 games in his career and started nine, shared his thinking Monday following the Yellow Jackets’ fourth practice of the preseason.
“I’ve played this game for a long time, and I didn’t want to end it the way it was going to end if I would have just walked away from it all,” Marshall said.
Further, playing another year would enable Marshall, a four-time member of the ACC academic honor roll, to earn a master’s degree in building construction. He called it a “no-brainer” to return and try to win some more games.
“It’s great to be back and play football one more time and kind of write the story the way I want to write it this time,” Marshall said.
After tearing the ligament, Marshall was readied to come back to play in the Miami game, the fifth game of the season. However, Marshall tore two ligaments in the same foot in practice, this time requiring surgery and ending his season. On Monday, coach Paul Johnson acknowledged that “we probably tried to get him back too early” last season.
Marshall didn’t disagree.
“That could have been the case,” he said. “You know, when you’re a senior, you came in with all those guys, I really wanted to play last year and help our team win, and we thought that I was ready to go. So we started getting me back into it and I was running and thought I’d be good to go, and it wasn’t. But I don’t regret that decision.”
Because he had played his first three years on campus, Marshall was able to use a redshirt last season to come back. Marshall said that the foot feels a lot better.
“A lot more rehab time, a lot more time that I had to get it fully ready to go,” he said.
Not having practiced or played in a year, Marshall has considerable rust, but he can be of great value to Tech. Marshall has played both center and tackle, and the Jackets have need at both positions. Returning starting center Kenny Cooper continues to rehab an injured foot of his own, and Tech also needs depth at tackle. Thus far, Marshall has bounced between right tackle and center.
“It’ll take some time, but he’s getting a lot of reps, and the more reps he gets, the more it’ll come back to him,” Johnson said.
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