August 4, 2017 Atlanta - Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall (16) runs through a drill during the first day of Georgia Tech football practice at Rose Bowl Field in Georgia Tech campus on Friday, August 4, 2017. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/AJC
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/AJC

Previewing Georgia Tech spring practice: Quarterbacks

Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall goes into spring practice with as firm a grip on his starting job as any of the Yellow Jackets’ returning starters. After starting all 11 games last season, Marshall was elected one of two captains in January to lead the team through the offseason, linebacker Brant Mitchell being the other.

That said, Marshall has room to develop and there also will be a competition for the No. 2 job, a spot that would increase its winner’s chance at playing time this fall and a head start on the starting job in 2019, as Marshall is a senior.

With Matthew Jordan’s decision to end his playing career because of a foot injury and Jay Jones’ transfer at the end of last semester (to Independence Community College in Kansas), Tech has only three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster: Marshall, sophomore Lucas Johnson and redshirt freshman Tobias Oliver. (They’ll be joined by signee James Graham.) That means plenty of practice repetitions for each.

“It’d be great if one of those guys could take a little bit off of him where you could get (Marshall) out a series a game or something like that,” coach Paul Johnson said in February.

Marshall can use his time to develop as a passer – he completed 37.1 percent of his passes, the lowest rate for a Tech starting quarterback dating at least to 1950 (Joshua Nesbitt was fractionally more accurate in 2010) – and continue to develop his comprehension of the offense.

Jordan offered his thoughts on his three former position mates.

Jordan said that if Johnson, who appeared minimally at quarterback last season, can keep learning and developing, “I think this’ll be a good spring for him.”

Jordan said that Johnson has a “really fluid motion” and has good speed.

“Once he gets those first few steps going, he’s really hard to catch,” Jordan said.

Oliver played in an offense similar to Tech’s in high school at Northside High in Warner Robins. Jordan said that gave Oliver a grounding in the footwork of the scheme, which helps a lot in learning the offense.

“He’s a lot quicker, a lot shiftier than people realize or know that he is,” Jordan said. “He really hasn’t had a chance to show it.”

Jordan expects to see Marshall take another step as a team leader. It was the same steps that Jordan himself took last spring as he was on track to succeed Justin Thomas before his foot injury.

“Now he’s the experienced old guy,” Jordan said.

First in a series previewing Tech’s spring practice, which begins March 26.

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