It’s no secret that the Florida Gators have had a long history of producing great defensive backs. Players like Lawrence Wright, Lito Sheppard, Reggie Nelson, Joe Haden, Janoris Jenkins, Matt Elam, Vernon Hargreaves III and C.J. Henderson set the standard for the next wave of defensive backs to come through the program. Kaiir Elam looks to be next in line to be a high draft pick for the Gators but who will take over after him?
Allow me to introduce you to Jason Marshall. The true freshman from Miami, FL looks to be well on his way to continuing that standard based off what we’ve seen so far this year. Marshall was a consensus five-star recruit and had offers from every major university in the country but ultimately decided on the Gators because of their track record with players at his position. He enrolled early at The University of Florida in January to get a jump start on his development and really turned heads in spring practice. He is a player that was expected to make an immediate impact and has done just that.
With projected first round draft pick Kaiir Elam out for the last three games due to a knee injury it allowed Marshall to make his first two career starts against Kentucky and Vanderbilt, and he did not disappoint. The Commodores specifically tested him early and often, throwing at him eight times, but Marshall didn’t give up a single reception. He has continued to get better each week in the absence of Elam and exceeded most people’s initial expectations. With Elam gone after this season, Marshall looks more than ready to take the reigns as the Gators number one cornerback next season.
At 6-foot-1 195 pounds, he has the ideal size and strength to be a shutdown cornerback in the SEC. Most freshman cornerbacks take time to develop into great players, but Marshall is a more physically developed than most corners his age, and the mental side seems to be getting better as he gets more game reps. However, what impresses me the most is not his physicality but his mindset. He’s not afraid to line up against the best wide receivers and challenge them.
Remember the name Jason Marshall because you’re going to hear it a lot for the next two years. His talent combined with his great instincts and ball skills are the reasons why he has a chance to leave Florida as one of the best cornerbacks in school history.