Terrace Marshall has caught 27 balls in 2020. Nine of them have gone for touchdowns, meaning one of every three completions to LSU's star receiver is going in the end zone.
He's scored at least two touchdowns in each of LSU's four games this season, with a three-touchdown performance against Missouri wedged in the middle. At the pace he's currently on, Marshall is currently projected to score well over 20 touchdowns this season, which would break teammate Ja'Marr Chase's SEC single-season record. And he'd do it in potentially as many as five less games.
What the junior receiver is doing this season is simply remarkable, and he's showing no signs of slowing down. After a freshman and sophomore season where injuries played a big part in Marshall's story, he's finally healthy and putting the country on blast that he's one of its best receivers.
"Growing up, my parents always taught me character so everything I do everyday is just built off of character," Marshall said. "Just setting a good example for the people that's watching and the younger kids that's coming up."
It all starts with the work ethic that Marshall has set for himself. Coach Ed Orgeron sees up close just the kind of hard work that Marshall puts in on a daily basis.
"Now that he's healthy, he's confident," Orgeron said. "He wants the ball, he comes off the field and says 'I want that ball.' You want that confidence in your receivers."
Sitting behind Chase and Justin Jefferson a season ago, Marshall often kept to himself, allowing the other two big fish to take the majority of the receiver leadership duties.
This year he’s the voice in that room and one of the leaders of the team, learning from his former teammates along the way.
"He's turning into a team leader, he came into my office last week and said 'Coach who's going to be the starting quarterback?,'" Orgeron said. "He's vocal, he's a good young man but now he's the leader. He kept in the background a little bit, kept quiet."
The biggest area of growth Orgeron has seen from Marshall on the field is his knowledge of the game and all of the different ways LSU can utilize his immense skill set.
His growth in finding yards after the catch was another area that Orgeron said was something Marshall has really improved on this season. One of the plays of the year was the five-yard slant route against the Gamecocks that Marshall turned into six points.
"We can put Terrace anywhere, he knows the offense, he feels confident and the yards after the catch," Orgeron said. "He catches that slant, breaks two or three tackles, I think that's where you're seeing him make a bunch of improvement. He's always been tall, is a big target and great hands."
That one touchdown you just saw Marshall make had him lined up in the slot, which is where his football IQ comes into play. Primarily an outside receiver in 2019 with Chase and Jefferson in the lineup, LSU has become more versatile in the way it uses its No. 1 receiver.
Whether it's out in the X or in the slot, Marshall is finding ways to make contributions all over the field no matter where he lines up.
"He's smart, he knows football so it's not like we need to leave him at one position," Orgeron said. "He knows the whole offense, he probably could play quarterback, he has an awareness, he's very smooth, a good athlete so it's like having three or four different receivers.
"I really worked on that in the offseason," Marshall said. "I want to be able to play smart and play big, it's just the best of both worlds. Everybody wants to see a receiver that can do that, particularly with the upside I have."
If the season ended today, Marshall would be on a short list to win the Biletnikoff Award, going to the nation's top receiver annually. Chase won it a season ago in commanding fashion, but Marshall does have some competition in Alabama's DeVonta Smith, Ole Miss' Elijah Moore and Clemson's Amari Rogers.
The question surrounding Marshall after Chase elected to opt out was whether or not he could assume the mantle as a No. 1 receiver in this offense. After four games, the answer is a resounding yes—and the junior looks as if he's just getting started.
Continuing to enhance the legacy of what it means to be an LSU wide receiver is what continues to drives him.
"We're paving the way, just like back in the day when Odell [Beckham Jr.] and Jarvis [Landry] did," Marshall said. "I'm just happy to be paving the way for all of the young kids that are coming up."