Newcomers To Watch

Game week is upon us, in just a few short days the Marshall Thundering Herd will take the field for their first football game of the season. Conversely it is also the final game in the series with in state rival West Virginia. Going forward, game week coverage will consist of a different feel, however, this week will be a little different with it being the first game of the season.

Game week is upon us, in just a few short days the Marshall Thundering Herd will take the field for their first football game of the season. Conversely it is also the final game in the series with in state rival West Virginia. Going forward, game week coverage will consist of a different feel, however, this week will be a little different with it being the first game of the season.

With game day approaching, everyone is wondering who has moved up and down the depth chart since practices have been closed. A little glimpse of that was provided yesterday, although I am sure the chart was not totally accurate.

Not on the depth chart is Tron Martinez, will that mean that he is out for the year? Which freshman will take over in his role, will it be a newcomer in Kevin Grooms or Steward Butler, or a redshirt freshman in Remi Watson. The answer to that question leads me to who I think will be the breakout newcomer of the year on the offensive side of the football.

Steward Butler is that man. Butler has shown the ability to not only get outside and out run people, but he is shifty enough to run between the tackles as well. Like Grooms, neither of them ever seem to take a direct hit. Butler is also very good out of the backfield. He is able to catch the football, however, in this area, Grooms may be a little better. Maybe Grooms will be the offensive breakout newcomer of the year. Now, that is a good problem to have. Whichever one it is, they will get the ball early and often. Travon Van will start at running back, but he shared carries last year with Martinez.

Moving over to the defensive side of the football, there are too many abnormal newcomers to consider, so I will go with the most impactful freshman defender of the year. With players such as Okechukwu Okoroha, Dominick LeGrande and Derrick Thomas all transferring in from BCS schools as upper classmen, all three are expected to not only contribute but to step in and lead right away. From the beginning, I would have had to say A.J. Leggett would be the most impactful, but with the emergence of Keith Baxter, and the arrival of the aforementioned Thomas, I am not sure if he will get the reps to be that guy.

With that being said, my prediction for top newcomer of the year on the defensive side of the football is Steve Dillon. The one time USC signee, Dillon has immense talent. Dillon will have the ability to play on the interior of the defensive line, or he could move outside and play defensive end. Dillon is currently listed as a back up defensive tackle, but with eight players making up a formidable rotation along the defensive front, he will get plenty of opportunities to make plays.

Dillon is 6'3", 266 pounds. Dillon is from Palmdale, California, and will be wearing number 93 this season.

This team has a good mix of young and old. In an odd note, a lot of the young, aka Tommy Shuler, Rakeem Cato, and Jermaine Kelson have a ton of experience at Marshall, conversely, Okoroha, LeGrande, and Thomas are old, but have little experience in CUSA. With the leadership that each of these players seem to contribute on the field on a daily basis, it should not be hard for Herd fans to see a different team this year on the field in regards to focus and commitment.

Other Notes:

The game this week is at noon an FX. Currently West Virginia is a 24 point favorite at home.

On the current depth chart, Monterius Lovett is still listed above Derrick Thomas.

Per the depth chart, Malcolm Strong has worked his way up to two on the depth chart at defensive end. I will say that throughout camp, Strong was noticeably bigger and better. He seemed to be practicing with a chip on his shoulder and with renewed interest. I noticed that on one of the early practices he had some family members there watching him which I am sure helped to provide a little motivation.

Devon Smith, transfer wide receiver from Penn State was not listed on the depth chart. Will he redshirt? We should find out in just a couple of days.

The Marshall Quarterback Club, Huntington Chapter, will have their first luncheon tomorrow at 1130 at Pullman Plaza.

I am assuming the first Doc Holliday call in show will be tomorrow night at 7pm at the Gino's Pub on Fifth Avenue.

Remember, in regards to Herdhaven.com, we are currently running a buy one month, get two months free special. So that is three months for just $4.95.

There is word of three other academic non qualifiers which have joined the team. I will update you guys with that info later on this week.

Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for further updates.

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