Auburn names Nick Marshall starting quarterback

Associated Press photo by JULIE BENNETTAuburn quarterbacks Jeremy Johnson (6) and Nick Marshall warm up, Aug. 2 in Auburn, Ala.
Associated Press photo by JULIE BENNETTAuburn quarterbacks Jeremy Johnson (6) and Nick Marshall warm up, Aug. 2 in Auburn, Ala.

AUBURN, Ala. — Nick Marshall will be Auburn’s starting quarterback in the opener against Washington State.

Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said Saturday in a statement that the junior college transfer emerged at the top of what began as a four-man race.

Malzahn said “we wanted to go with the guy that gives us the best opportunity to win football games and Nick is that guy.” He said Marshall has learned the offense quickly and “is a playmaker with a big upside.”

Marshall was a 3,000-yard passer and 1,000-yard rusher last season at Garden City Community College in Kansas. He started his career as a Georgia defensive back.

Malzahn had narrowed it down to the two newcomers, Marshall and freshman Jeremy Johnson, early this week. Former starter Kiehl Frazier moved to safety.

Manziel busy in scrimmage

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — If Texas A&M’s scrimmage Saturday night at Kyle Field was an indication, the Aggies have every intention of playing Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel in the Aug. 31 opener against Rice.

Manziel took the majority of snaps in the Aggies’ first and likely only open scrimmage of preseason camp. The sophomore is under NCAA and A&M scrutiny about whether he accepted pay from brokers for autographing memorabilia.

Manziel occasionally flashed his celebrated quickness out of the backfield, but primarily worked on his pocket presence in throwing two touchdown passes along with an interception to linebacker Tommy Sanders, a junior-college transfer.

Florida RB still ailing

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida running Matt Jones made an appearance on the sideline during Saturday’s practice in the Swamp.

Jones, who continues to recover from a serious viral infection, has slowly has increased his conditioning workload, but he has lost weight and remain out indefinitely. Expected to be Florida’s featured runner, Jones could miss as many as two games, Gators coach Will Muschamp said recently.

Auburn’s McNeal off team

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn safety Demetruce McNeal was dismissed from the team following his arrest on a marijuana possession charge.

Coach Gus Malzahn announced the decision Saturday after meeting with McNeal.

Online jail records Saturday show McNeal was jailed on $500 bond, along with former Auburn players Jonathan Evans and Jawara White.

Officials with the Lee County jail and Sheriff’s department declined to release any information on the arrests or whether the three had posted bond.

McNeal was second on the team with 90 tackles last season.

McNeal missed some practices during the spring for personal reasons. He returned Monday after recovering from a staph infection that Malzahn said required surgery.

Nearly 40,000 watch Vols

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Butch Jones has been at Tennessee long enough to realize the importance of paying attention when Peyton Manning has something to say.

The first-year coach said a conversation with the Denver Broncos quarterback and former Tennessee star gave him the idea to make one training-camp practice open to the public. Tennessee held that open practice Saturday at Neyland Stadium in front of an announced crowd of 39,000 fans. Most of them stayed throughout the 90-minute session amid steady rain.

The experiment gave the Volunteers something of a dress rehearsal before the Aug. 31 season opener with Austin Peay. It also continued Jones’ efforts to engage Tennessee’s fans.

Vandy player surrenders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A Vanderbilt football player indicted on charges that he was an accomplice after the rape of an unconscious student on campus has turned himself in to police.

Metro Nashville Police said 21-year-old Chris Boyd came to police headquarters Saturday morning after being indicted Friday.

Boyd is accused of giving another defendant advice on how to cover up the crime. His bond was set at $25,000.

Four players were dismissed from the team June 29 and face rape charges. Their arraignment is set for Wednesday, although one has already has pleaded not guilty and waived his right to appear at the arraignment.

Vanderbilt released a statement Friday saying Boyd had been suspended from the team pending further review.

He caught 50 passes for 774 yards and five touchdowns last season.