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Watch List Watching

Heading into the season, we’ll take an in-depth look at all the Auburn players who landed on preseason watch lists.

Mike Ehrmann

The Maxwell Award Watch List
The Davey O'Brien Award Watch List
The Manning Award Watch List
The Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List
SEC media, Athlon, Phil Steele, Birmingham News, Lindy's, Sporting News, CFB Matrix, CBS Sports Preseason All-SEC first team.

That's a lot of love for a former cornerback. If you're reading this, you know Nick Marshall's back story. And, you likely groaned as broadcasters told viewers over and over how he missed spring camp, how he didn't know the playbook.

We groaned because it never seemed like an admission that maybe he was extremely talented. That maybe despite missing valuable practice time, he could lead a team that had been an all-out dumpster fire the year before to the mountain top.

Rather, it always seemed like a fault that he could never overcome. Auburn couldn't and wouldn't win with a former CB as their QB. But, then Marshall and his teammates went and did what Auburn does best: they proved everyone wrong.

With 2013 in the rearview, can Marshall do it again? After his legal citation this summer, it seemed like he might not have the chance. But, by all accounts, coaches seem pleased with how he's responded, and Coach Malzahn's plan* is in place. After a predetermined amount of time, Marshall will take the field against Arkansas on Saturday, and Coach Malzahn will have his first ever returning starter at QB.

Will Marshall's intensity**, combined with better accuracy and a receiving core full of monsters and freak athletes, lead Auburn back to the national championship? Will his name top these watch lists? Will we be talking about his Heisman campaign by November? Maybe the biggest questions is what Coach Malzahn has up his sleeve for his second-year QB.

All I know is that this is Nick Marshall's team, and I can't wait to find out.

*I fully believe Coach Malzahn has Marshall's entry into Saturday's game calculated to the second. If you're worried about whatever his game plan is, don't be.

**Dear home viewers, look into his eyes during a game and tell me he doesn't have ice water in his veins.