After his college career at Georgia, rookie running back Keith Marshall is 'very, very excited' for his opportunity with the Redskins after being picked in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
For Keith Marshall, making it to the NFL is a dream that he has had since he was a child.
Earlier this month, Marshall's dream came true when the Redskins selected him in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
"Well I knew I wasn't going to go the first day and probably not the second day, and I had some people say maybe four or fifth round grade, so I was hoping to go somewhere in there," Marshall said on "Redskins Nation" last week. "But the process was nerve wracking, just sitting there, just watching all day Saturday waiting for my phone to ring. And then people started calling me and not drafting me so it was a tough experience but I feel like I landed in the perfect spot, but it's funny because when you get to the later rounds of the Draft, you start thinking free agency and where you want to go, what's the best situation, me and my agent felt like this was a great opportunity for me."
Marshall joins the Redskins after a career in which he had success on the field at University of Georgia, but also was filled with injury, tearing his ACL during his sophomore season and then fighting for playing time with current Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley.
Even though there was competition between Marshall and Gurley, the two are friends. They met through track and field during the football offseason and Marshall even convinced Gurley to join him in Athens.
In addition to football, Marshall was also a member of the UGA track and field team; in high school he was named the 2011 Gatorade Track and Field Athlete of the Year for the state of North Carolina as a sprinter and hurdler.
That speed was evident at the NFL Combine where Marshall had an outstanding showing running a combine best 4.31 second 40-yard-dash and putting up 25 bench press reps, ranking four among all running backs.
To help prepare for the Combine, the Raleigh, N.C. native traveled to south Florida directly after a bowl victory over Penn State. There he trained for 11 hours a day and focused on his diet, cutting 15 pounds before going to Indianapolis for the Combine.
Despite being a top performer, Marshall slipped to the seventh round of the NFL Draft where the Redskins selected him with the 242nd pick.
The two and a half day waiting period was hard for Marshall, sitting with his family and friends waiting for the phone call. But in the end, he believes that the situation with the Redskins is ideal.
His opportunity has just begun in Washington. With rookie minicamp this past weekend, he had his first chance to impress the coaching staff, particularly running backs coach Randy Jordan, who played running back in the NFL himself.
"[Coach Jordan's] been awesome so far," Marshall said. "Just because like I said, we just kind of [were] thrown right into the fire so he's been taking a lot of time to work with us. I like how he teaches us not just what we're doing, but what the linemen are doing and the route concepts and everything so we get a whole picture of what's going on."
The first couple weeks with a new team are tough for any player and Marshall has a lot to learn as he makes the transition from college to professional football.
After being placed with the veteran players at practice, Marshall realizes things are moving quickly, noting that he will have to delve into the playbook, calling it the biggest adjustment of coming to the NFL.
"The biggest thing so far is just getting into that playbook and trying to get everything down pact because they're moving at a fast pace, especially they just threw us right in with the vets," Marshall said. "This weekend we've got minicamp and I think I might slow down a little bit because it'll go back to probably square one, but it's definitely been the playbook."
For his rookie campaign, Marshall isn't looking for personal accolades, rather just the opportunity to get better and help the team.
"I think just go out there and compete every day, get better every day and do everything I can to put myself in the situation to help this team win," Marshall said.