Auburn QB Nick Marshall playing DB at Senior Bowl

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall is practicing at cornerback at the Senior Bowl.
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall is practicing at cornerback at the Senior Bowl. (Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

MOBILE, ALA. — Nick Marshall excelled at Auburn, reaching the national championship game as their starting quarterback two years ago.

In order to make it to the NFL, though, Marshall has embraced a return to his roots as a defensive back.


Marshall shifted to cornerback Tuesday during a Senior Bowl practice for the South squad after initially being invited to the all-star game and preparing to play quarterback. Marshall lined up with the defensive backs and also worked as a gunner in kick coverage.

The Senior Bowl has added Southeastern Louisiana quarterback Bryan Bennett to the South roster.


"Nick just wants to continue to jump in here," said Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, the coach of the South squad. "He wasn't in the defensive back meetings, but we made the decision. He came in and went full-speed. You could see him progress as the practice went on."

The athletic 6-foot-1, 205-pound Maxwell Award semifinalist was a starting defensive back at Georgia as a freshman before being dismissed from the team, enrolling at junior college and later transferring to Auburn.

Marshall passed for 4,291 yards with 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and had 1,848 rushing yards and three touchdowns in two seasons.

"I'm coming here to finish out as a quarterback but I already got my mind made up what position I want to play, and I'm going to move over there," Marshall said. "I'm going to play cornerback. It's just second nature like I'm a born natural athlete."


It was a family decision for Marshall, who consulted his mother and other relatives before making the switch.

"It wasn't difficult because I played cornerback also coming up," Marshall said. "It won't be a hard transition for me to make. It's something that I know if I put my mind to I can do anything that I want."

Harman available

Former Ravens tight ends coach Wade Harman is looking for a new job after the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff was fired along with head coach Mike Smith.

Harman was dismissed by the Ravens and replaced by tight ends coach Brian Pariani last year when the team hired offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. With Pariani having left the Ravens and going to the Denver Broncos to join Kubiak's staff, the Ravens have an opening for a tight ends coach.

Harman said he hadn't spoken with Ravens coach John Harbaugh, but is receptive to the idea of returning.

Harman coached for the Ravens for 15 seasons and was a popular assistant coach, working with tight ends Shannon Sharpe, Todd Heap and Dennis Pitta.

Rough day

The Senior Bowl has a long-standing reputation as an unofficial job convention for NFL scouts and coaches.

New Orleans Saints college scouting director Rick Reiprish joined the ranks of the unemployed Tuesday when he learned he'd been fired by general manager Mickey Loomis.

The Saints are expected to hire former Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland as his replacement.

Clemmings shines

Pittsburgh offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings had an impressive first day, showing off his footwork and strength in blocking drills.

Clemmings could play left tackle in the NFL and is rated as a first-round draft pick.

"I believe at the end of the day, if things play out, he'll be a top-10 pick," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "He's got beautiful feet. He's a dancing bear. He just needs to clean up technique and get stronger, especially in his core areas."

Open invitation for Mariota

Oregon junior quarterback Marcus Mariota has already informed the Senior Bowl that he isn't going to play in the game.

Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt wishes that wasn't the case, though.

Whisenhunt, the coach of the North squad, tried to convince Mariota to come to the game with a telephone call prior to this week.

The Titans own the second overall pick and would like to evaluate Mariota as a potential draft selection.

"It would have been great," Whisenhunt said with a laugh. "I'm hopeful he'll still show. He's got a couple of days. As long as he gets here before the game, I think we're set."

Jay Harbaugh hire announced

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh announced the hire of his son, Jay Harbaugh, as tight ends coach and assistant special teams coach.

Jay Harbaugh, 25, worked for the past three seasons for the Ravens as an offensive quality control coach for his uncle, John Harbaugh.

"Jay gathered a wealth of experience the last three seasons coaching in the NFL and I am excited to have him join our coaching staff," Jim Harbaugh said in a statement. "His passion for teaching the game is at the highest level and he will be an asset to our team."

End zone

The only Division III player in the game is Hobart offensive tackle Ali Marpet. … Besides talking with Penn State offensive tackle Donovan Smith (Owings Mills), the Ravens spoke informally with several other players. That group included Auburn wide receiver Sammie Coates and Duke offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson.