WILCOX COUNTY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - On November 16, 2013, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall threw the pass now known as "The Miracle at Jordan-Hare" that led Auburn past Georgia 43-38.
He followed it up with key plays in wins over Alabama and Missouri to help the Tigers into Monday's BCS National Championship Game in California.
Marshall's path to Pasadena started more than 2,000 miles away in Pineview, Georgia. He played for Wilcox County head coach Mark Ledford and led the Patriots to a state title his junior year.
"The things that he's done at Auburn have not surprised me," Ledford says near the field where Marshall used to light up the scoreboard on Friday nights. "Just like I think anyone that saw him play in middle Georgia."
Out of high school, Marshall committed to Georgia--not as a quarterback, but a cornerback. Not long into his UGA career, trouble off the field (a violation of team rules) left Nick and two other players off the team.
"He was more concerned about how the family was going to feel about Georgia," says Earlene Mahoganey, Nick's grandmother. "And I told him, I said, 'Well as far as grandmama's concerned, you don't have to worry, because you're always going to be my pie face. My pie face Nick Marshall."
Soon after that conversation, Nick enrolled at Garden City Community College in Kansas.
He told Ledford and his family he wanted to come back to the SEC and play quarterback. After all, he did set the Georgia High School Association record (that still stands) for career touchdown passes with 103.
"I always thought Nick Marshall was going to do great things," Ledford says. "I thought whatever team he ended up with, if he was playing quarterback, he was going to do great things for that football team."
In 2012, Nick's only season at Garden City, he played quarterback. He threw for more than 3,000 yards and rushed for more than 1,000. Schools all over the country wanted him, but he chose Auburn.
"All of the schools that have come recruiting you wanting you to come to their school, I said, 'You're going to write them down,' Mahoganey says. "But before you start calling out the names of those schools, you ask God to guide you in your mind and in your heart and he's going to help you make the right decision. After you make that decision, you come to my house and we're going to talk about it."
Mrs. Mahoganey pauses.
And the rest is history?
"The rest is history."
Monday, Marshall will lead the No. 2 Tigers against No. 1 Florida State in the last title game of the BCS era. If you're looking for advice on the game for your bowl pool, look no further than Nick's mom, Latonya Cliett.
Is Auburn going to win?
"Of course," Cliett says. "The only bad feeling I had about Nick on the schedule was LSU (Auburn's only loss). I just had a bad vibe about it. All the rest of them, I said, 'We got this.'"
It's the culmination of a journey Nick knew would end well.
"When he first committed (to Auburn), he said he was going to go there and win the Heisman Trophy and go to the national championship," says Nick's little brother, Quez Mahogoney, who plays wide receiver for Middle Georgia State. "There's a difference in saying it and doing it, and now that he's gotten to the national championship, I can't do anything but respect him. I can't do anything but respect him and love him."
Auburn defensive linemen Montravius Adams (Dooly County) and Jeffrey Whitaker (Warner Robins) join Marshall as the only players from middle Georgia in Monday's championship game. Kickoff is at 8:30.