FAYETTEVILLE — Jonathan Marshall had never started a game at Arkansas until this season, but one could say he’s definitely making up for lost time.
Marshall isn’t just a starter this season, but he’s playing outstanding and appears to be headed to possibly hearing his name called in the 2021 NFL Draft. His coach Sam Pittman is a big believer in him.
“Absolutely,” Pittman said. “I’ve talked to several different guys about him. He’s played his way into a draftable player, I believe and you’re not going to get a whole lot better kid than him if you take him on your football team. So absolutely. He’s had a really good year and I’m proud for him and I believe he will get looks in the NFL.”
On Tuesday, Marshall reacted to what his coach said about him on Monday and what he has done to get on the NFL’s radar.
“It’s just keep working hard and be a blue collar worker in words coach Pitt said and try to work my way up there best I can,” Marshall said.
In seven games, Marshall has 26 tackles, 15 solo, 5.5 for loss, one sack and two quarterback hurries. Marshall said any success he’s having is a credit to the other defensive linemen.
“D-line we’re all playing off each other so if I’m doing good it’s gonna help him out and if he’s doing good it’s gonna help everyone out,” Marshall said. “That’s us just playing as one unit, but when we’re on the field it’s helping the D-line and the defense out.”
LSU is 2-3 on the season and struggled, but Marshall knows they will have a big offensive line that will challenge him and his teammates.
“They’re big, physical and explosive,” Marshall said. “They’re a really good O-line so we’ve just got to come there prepared and do the best we can.”
The LSU running game has been much like the team in general….up and down and inconsistent.
“Like I said, it’s all on their offensive line,” Marshall said. “They are probably an up front team and up front sets the tempo for them. I feel like to play us they’ve got to be fired up and we’ve got to be fired up to play them so we’ve got to do our best to try and keep it to a minimum.”
The Hogs will be trying to bring The Boot back to Fayetteville for the first time since they beat LSU 31-14 in Baton Rouge on Nov. 14, 2015.
“Yes sir,” Marshall said. “A lot of motivation. We haven’t had that thing since I came in my redshirt freshman year. I really want to get it back and go across there and grab. That will be a memory that won’t be forgotten.”
After facing three senior quarterbacks in a row, the Hogs will likely take on a freshman this week. Do you change anything for him?
“No sir, we attack everybody the same,” Marshall said. “So I feel like with this freshman quarterback we’re gonna keep our same attack on.”
Arkansas has played a lot of three-man fronts on the defensive line. With Marshall in the middle that means he’s getting double-team blocked a lot. How has that been?
“I mean it’s tough, but like I said up front we’re helping the linebackers out so they help me out,” Marshall said. “I’m freeing them up. We’re all working together so we’re just playing team football. I’m relying on them and they’re relying on me so that’s what it is up front.”
Marshall talked about what it’s like on the plays where he isn’t doubled up on?
“Being doubled is tough I would say, but when I’m not doubled it’s like blowed off,” Marshall said. “It helps a lot.”
Arkansas and LSU will kickoff at 11 a.m. on the SEC Network on Saturday morning in Reynolds Razorback Stadium.