The 2013 season is a tremendous opportunity for Byron Marshall, one that could considerably influence his football career.
Much will be expected of Byron in 2013, following the graduation of Kenjon Barner (and his 23 TD’s and 2000+ all-purpose yards). Marshall has the talent to be next in the line of great Oregon running backs, but unfortunately for him (but fortunately for Duck fans) he’ll have to compete with De’Anthony Thomas for touches. And if all-everything 5-star recruit Thomas Tyner is as good as everyone says, Marshall could be the odd-man out.
Marshall, De’Anthony, and Tyner all possess elite speed (all three were national track standouts), though Tyner and DAT have significant durability concerns. Tyner has had chronic hamstring issues, and De’Anthony’s slight frame precludes him from receiving more than 20 touches per game on a consistent basis.
Byron had a minor shoulder injury in 2011, but possesses a strong, compact frame much like LaMichael’s that seems able to take a consistent pounding. Also, so far he has avoided any sign of fumble-itis. Those factors, and the fact that he’s already had a year in the program, bode well for him getting the opportunity to prove himself early in the season (while DAT gets 12-15 carries per-game and does his MAMBA thing).
If Marshall can prove effective in a larger role, he could put up some big numbers and improve his draft stock greatly. If he falters and gives the coaches a reason to feed Tyner the rock, then he could be overshadowed by the freshman from Aloha (Ore.).
I think Tyner will be great (better than LaMichael), but just how good can Byron Marshall be? That’s for him to decide.