WEST LAFAYETTE – Redshirt freshman wide receiver Bilal Marshall’s position switch might take more prominence now.
Marshall, who came to Purdue as a quarterback and spent preseason camp at receiver, has been impressive in his new role.
And with injuries to fellow wideouts Danny Anthrop and Dan Monteroso – who were both expected to be major contributors – Marshall could go from unknown signal caller to one of the team’s top options at wideout.
I’m just glad to be out there and making some plays, Marshall said during the team media day Aug. 11. I didn’t want to sit here and be unuseful. I wanted to get out there and make an impact for this team somehow, some way.
The 6-foot-3 quarterback-turned-receiver is athletic enough for his new spot.
Marshall has made some outstanding plays in camp and shown the speed and hands that make him a threat at the position. The players throwing to him can’t tell he used to be a quarterback.
That athleticism doesn’t surprise redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Appleby, who watched Marshall perform as a practice player last season.
Whenever we would play Ohio State or we would play Michigan, he would be that quarterback for the week, Appleby said. You could see some of those moves and just the ability that he had. There was no question he was going to step right in, and he made an immediate impact in seven-on-seven in the summer.
The time at quarterback has helped Marshall adapt to his new position, as well. He’s able to make plays because he puts himself in the right spots.
You don’t necessarily have to study the playbook so hard because you know the concepts, he said.
You know if this happens, you have to do this. There should be no excuse for me running the wrong routes. I should have double punishment.
The Boilermakers might have to rely on that confidence, and Marshall’s skills, with Monteroso out and Anthrop’s season in doubt.
Monteroso, a freshman, suffered a broken collarbone during camp and underwent surgery Saturday. Anthrop injured his knee during the jersey scrimmage Saturday.
Although there’s plenty of competition for the six wideout spots on the depth chart, Marshall has a good shot because of his playmaking ability.
We have so many guys that can play right now, said junior wideout Dolapo McCarthy, who, like Marshall, used to be a quarterback.
It’s making all of us better, and we’re elevating our game.
Coach Darrell Hazell was worried about the depth at receiver during spring practice, but with several incoming freshmen and players such as Marshall making switches, the position might be one of Purdue’s deepest.
We got real deep real quick with moving Bilal over there, Hazell said.