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Carolina Panthers

Terrace Marshall Jr. feels "clear" heading into third season

Terrace Marshall Jr.

CHARLOTTE – Terrace Marshall Jr.'s flushed his thoughts about anything that has – or hasn't – happened in his first two years with Carolina.

The wide receiver is just a few days over 23 years old, but he has hardly scratched the surface of the expectations when Carolina drafted him in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft.

Catching 45 balls for 628 yards with one touchdown across 27 games in two seasons isn't exactly going to move the needle, though there are reasons to predict Marshall may be teed up for a better year in his third season.

Terrace Marshall Jr.

For one, he's mentally up for it.

"I'd say one word to describe it is just clear – clear-minded, just ready to take on what this year's going to bring," Marshall said. "Just taking it one day at a time, really. Just grinding it out with the team, getting work right with the scheme and QBs. I'm ready to go."

The Panthers finally appear to be settled at quarterback for the first time in Marshall's young career, after using the first overall draft pick on Bryce Young, and giving him so much work with the starters by the end of OTAs and mandatory minicamp.

Marshall's also getting to know his fourth offensive coordinator (Thomas Brown) and third position coach (Shawn Jefferson) in three years, as well as a new head coach in Frank Reich. He called Jefferson his "OG," praising the knowledge he has to share with his group as a former NFL receiver.

"(There's a) new coaching staff, new energy around here, so I'm just adapting to that," he said. "Just feels like a fresh start, clean slate, and (I'm) ready for the year. …

"(Jefferson) is going to keep it real with you. Clean slate; he's going to let you know he's going to coach you the hardest, going to coach you to be the best and not mediocre. So that's what I respect. I respect that he comes in every day as the same person with the same energy."

Shawn Jefferson, Terrace Marshall Jr.

Naturally, this place is set for new beginnings – and that's a good thing for Marshall. He looks to build upon the final 11 games of last season, when he tallied at least one reception in each game and accumulated 460 yards, the most productive and consistent stretch of his career.

He also flashed the kind of big play potential that was to be expected from the big-bodied 6-foot-2, 200-pound wideout. Marshall made the type of catches toward the back half of last season that coaches wanted to see. And since Young has gotten to town, the two have connected on the field in a way that makes Reich, his staff, and Marshall's teammates optimistic.

"I think it's just a matter of him getting more play time and making those plays consistently," Reich said. "I think we saw that last year with the reps that he got, the catches that he had, the big plays that he had, that he shows the capacity to kind of be a big play guy. So the next step with every player is always more reps, more plays, more confidence, where it's like, 'Hey, give me the ball.'"

It makes sense how more reps and opportunities would translate into success, but Marshall will have to carve out his role after the Panthers added free agents Adam Thielen and DJ Chark Jr. to the mix, along with another second-round pick in Jonathan Mingo.

Thielen, a 10-year NFL veteran, and Chark, heading into his sixth year, have experience on Marshall – and they're building relationships that sharpen the room as a whole.

Terrace Marshall Jr., Adam Thielen

Thielen gave glowing remarks about Marshall during OTAs, sharing that he's also learning from the young pass-catcher. 

"I've been so impressed from him off the field as well as on-field; he's got a lot of talent," Thielen said. "Not only does he have a lot of talent, he's a great kid – I shouldn't say kid, but I'm probably 10 years older – but he's a great guy that comes to work every single day with a smile on his face. He's been so great in the meeting room, and then being on the field with him, there's a lot of potential there. And I'm excited to be a part of it.

"I think he's excited to have a fresh start and just to be out there just playing the game that he loves. You can see it; you can see it out there in the huddle. I can pick up on those things. I can tell when a guy loves the game of football, and he's one of those guys I'm just excited to be around. Honestly, I'm learning from him. It's been fun to see how he runs some routes and learn a little bit from him as well."

Marshall said he has personal goals, but he keeps numbers and details to himself. He said his plans include "shooting for the stars," not cutting himself short, and that they're written down for him to remember. 

Moving forward and making the most of this fresh start is what's most important to him. 

"I always say to myself, 'You talk it, you walk it,'" Marshall said of his goals. "Every day, this is always on my mind. That's all I'll think about."

Check out photos from Panthers practice during mandatory minicamp.

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