AU backup QB says Nick Marshall is a lock for Heisman

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Nick Marshall for Heisman.

That's not a campaign; that's a guarantee.

Auburn backup quarterback Jeremy Johnson said be believes Marshall, who led the Tigers to the BCS National Championship Game last year, has college football's most prestigious award on lockdown.

"He led us to the national championship, and we were 13 seconds away," Johnson said, according to al.com. "And this year he got better at passing, better at running, better at making reads. He's become a leader on this team and I've never seen him so amped at practice every day the way he is, the way he comes out. So, I know for a fact he'll win the Heisman."

Marshall is certainly considered a legitimate candidate, and rightfully so. He enters his senior season, along with Braxton Miller of Ohio State, as one of the nation's most dynamic dual-threat quarterbacks. The SEC, and in particular, the new SEC Network, will provide him with an incredible level of national exposure.

But there are also a handful of roadblocks that make him anything but a certainty. One is Auburn coach Gus Malzahn's commitment to the running game. Although Marshall's rushing exploits will certainly help his Heisman case, his passing numbers aren't likely to even approach those of candidates like Oregon's Marcus Mariota or Baylor's Bryce Petty. As such, Marshall will need to rack up a another big season in the win column to keep his Heisman hopes afloat; perhaps even stay in contention for a berth in the national title game. That won't be easy, given Auburn's question marks on defense and a schedule that includes five ranked opponents over AU's last six games.

Johnson's claim is a bold one. But then again, Johnson's not the one who will have to deliver.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter *@ChaseGoodbread.*

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