New Safeties

Today begins a series of looking back at the most recent recruiting class and how each player parlays into the current roster and potential depth chart. The first position being looked at is Safety. This is due simply to the fact that the first player to sign this recruiting season was mid year Junior College transfer student, Taj Letman.

Marshall lost two of its top tacklers this past offseason to graduation. Okoroha Okechukwu and Dominick LeGrande were both senior safeties who played one season after transferring from Boston College. Replacing these two guys was going to be tough. Coach Doc Holliday made a big impact when he was able to allure the highly touted Letman to the Huntington campus.

Letman, a 6'3", 195 pound safety should step in and play right away. One, now departed coach, said of Letman, "had he not gotten injured, we may have had no shot at him, he is THAT good." The question remaining, it appears, is who will play along side the talented JUCO. A JUCO , who by the way, has three years to play three at Marshall.

Marshall currently has four other safeties on the roster, none of which have any significant playing time.

Redshirt freshman to be, Andre Scott, was a highly touted recruit last season who battled injuries this past year. He should be ready to go for spring practice and should provide the team with depth.

Walk on Derek Mitchell has played more than anyone, and could provide depth at safety, but he also saw time at outside linebacker last season.

Redshirt sophomore to be Corie Wilson has played some special teams, and has seen playing time at safety, but he has not started, and does not have the size of most safeties at this level.

The wild card could be sophomore to be Shawn Samuels. Samuels was highly recruited out of high school and at one time had committed to both Arkansas and UAB. Heading into last season, Coach Holliday continually spoke of his talent and how he projected as a potential playmaker at the safety position. Last season, however, his playmaking was relegated to special teams and late game mop up duty. This is not necessarily a jab at his ability, but a sign of just how talented the departing safeties were.

Marshall recruited a few other defensive backs who had some safety experience. Former Florida State commit, Michael Johnson is a safety, a small, but very fast safety. He is said to have great ball skills and has the ability to make plays on the ball from all over the field. The Herd also signed Georgia standout Tiquan Lang. Lang, as per the coaching staff, tackles as well as anyone they have seen. This is huge at the safety position. One other new addition who could see some time at safety could be Aaron Plantt. Plannt was recruited as a linebacker, but often alluded to himself as a hybrid linebacker/safety type of a player.

Marshall also returns quite a few highly talented defensive backs. Keith Baxter, Darryl Roberts, Derrick Thomas, and Monterious Lovett have all started at corner at some point in their career, and not just for a game or two. Redshirt freshman A.J. Leggett is one of the highest rated recruits the Herd has ever signed. A shoulder injury kept him out last year, but he is back and healthy. New recruit, Chocolate Wilson also has the talent to come in and play. That is six players for two positions. One of those could move to safety.

My prediction for starting safeties, are Taj Letman and Michael Johnson. I think Derrick Thomas and Andre Scott/Tiquan Lang could be the back ups. Thomas will see playing time at defensive back and the nickel position as well.

Stay tuned to for further position breakdowns

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