Word began leaking out through Twitter about an hour ago that Nick Marshall was cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. This has now been confirmed according to news agencies in Georgia and Alabama through the Sheriff in Reynold's, Georgia. He was NOT arrested.
So what will citation vs arrest mean for him? Maybe not that much. Gus has said he expects more from the senior leaders of his team. This coming on the heels of the Mincy arrest after speaking at the D.A.R.E. event a few weeks back does not look good. You know Gus expects Nick to be a leader on this team and an example for them all and the community. You would think something would have been learned from the Mincy arrest. It would not surprise me in the least if Jeremy Johnson starts against Arkansas. Marshall has become the public face of the team and was slated to represent Auburn at Media Days next week. Who knows if that will still be the case, now?
The good news is that Jeremy Johnson is more than capable of handling the offense. But you still never want to see this happen, especially from someone who is expected to be your team leader. We don't know ALL the facts yet so there's really no point in speculating exactly what Gus will do about this, but you can bet that something will be done.
We could debate the merits of marijuana laws all day long, but please let's not in the comments below. The fact is that it is currently illegal in Alabama and Georgia and Gus had another expected senior leader speaking about it at a D.A.R.E. camp just a few short weeks ago before getting arrested for possession. In other places I've seen that the charges against Mincy may be dubious and not hold up as they currently stand, but for many (opposing fan bases and media speculators in particular) perception is often reality and the perception of these two incidents is definitely a bad one. It does not look good for them or for the program that this has happened. Hopefully nothing else like this happens and the rest of the team learns from it.
Update: Al.com updated their story with Auburn's drug policy. First offense = no loss of playing time, but counseling, meetings, testing, etc. Second offense is suspension for half of the season. Third offense is dismissal. Obviously this is not a third offense, because we would have heard of a suspension before now. What we don't know is whether or not this is a first or second offense. First offenses - such as a failed drug test - would be handled internally and not reported. If this is the first offense, then Marshall may not miss any playing time at all. If it's a second offense, then it looks like Jeremy Johnson may be the starter.
The police report states "residue." Is it too much to hope that it was someone else's and he just hadn't gotten rid of it? Probably.