BLOOMINGTON – Redshirt junior receiver Miles Marshall has made steady progress in each of his first two active seasons at Indiana.
This season, Marshall could take on an even more significant role in IU’s offense. With senior Whop Philyor departed for the NFL draft, Marshall will enter the 2021 season as the second-most experienced receiver on the roster, behind just senior Ty Fryfogle.
“I hope my role increases, but that’s up to me,” Marshall said following IU’s ninth spring practice Tuesday. “I’ve got to keep working hard. I’ve got to keep getting faster. I’ve got to work on my hands. I’ve got to work on my releases, and I’ve got to become a better player to do the things I want to do. My goal is to end up in the NFL, so I’ve got a couple of more years left to achieve that goal.”
Marshall has posted 35 catches for 486 yards and two TDs in his career, including 19 catches for 290 yards and one TD last season. Marshall’s highlight catch last year was a 68-yard grab on a fly route against Big Ten champion Ohio State.
IU receivers coach Grant Heard is looking for the 6-foot-4, 212-pound Marshall to play more physical this season.
“Just trying to get him to play more physical and let players feel his presence out there on the field as far as blocking, as far as 50-50 balls,” Heard said. “And just trying to get him to be a true vocal leader in that room because he’s been there. He’s played a lot of ball. He’s one of the veterans in that room. So that’s my challenge for him, and every day is an opportunity for him to try to go out and get better.”
Marshall said he’s heeding his coach’s advice this spring.
“I don’t think it’s anything with the strength, upper body strength,” Marshall said. “I think I just have to have a physical mindset and just try to dominate the defenders.”
Marshall showed he was versatile enough to play in the slot and line up outside last season, and Heard expects he will be used in a similar role this season.
“Miles knows the whole offense, so I can put him anywhere,” Heard said. “He played outside a whole bunch last year, so there’s certain things we like to do with him because of his skillsets, but him being a smart player gives him the ability to move around.”
Having a full spring, Marshall said, should help in not just his development, but the growth of the rest of IU’s receivers as well. IU’s spring season was cut short at four practices last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our group is different this year, so we’re kind of starting fresh,” Marshall said. “I know the one thing we can improve on is just making contested catches and yards after catch, being explosive, and I think we’re working on doing that.”