Coach Chaump's 1986 Class

Recruiting classes have been looked at and talked about for many years. Today, the 1986 Marshall Football recruiting class will be looked at and compared to where and who the Herd recruits today. The 1986 recruiting class was put together after the Herd came off its second winning season in a row for the first time in nearly three decades.

The Herd lost its starting quarterback, and the quarterback that started "Quarterback U," in Carl Fodor. Fodor shattered literally every passing record in the Marshall record books. The roster was missing his replacement, no one had really stepped in to be his successor. Head Coach George Chaump went out to find someone to fill the roll as starter. He brought in one transfer and an astounding three Junior College transfer quarterbacks.

Amazingly enough, two of those junior college quarterbacks still remain in the schools top 8 passers in school history. The transfer was John Gregory. Gregory transferred from Southeast Louisiana University. The school had dropped football so Gregory was eligible to play immediately.

The three other quarterbacks who were part of the class, and apparently actually enrolled early were Tony Petersen, Steve Zeller, and Rodney Barnes.

Petersen transferred from San Joaquin Delta, Zeller from Monterey Peninsula Community College and Barnes from San Mateo Junior College. All were battling for the job.

Gregory and Petersen turned out in more ways than one. Both quarterbacks are in the top 8 in all time passers at Marshall, Gregory threw for 7,050 yards, and Petersen for 6,501 yards. Petersen led the Herd to the National Championship game in Pocatello, Idaho in 1987. Petersen then returned to run the offense under Doc Holliday. Gregory has announced multiple games over the air for the Herd.

The breakdown of the recruiting class was very different in comparison to the 2013 recruiting class. Marshall had only one recruit from the state of Florida, Kerry Parks, this season the Herd had nine, which puts the total number of sunshine state players on the roster at over 30. The remaining part of the class had 4 players from the state of West Virginia, 5 from Pennsylvania, 2 from Kentucky, and one each from Georgia and Ohio.

All but two players in the recruiting class, excluding the JUCO transfers, were from states who bordered along West Virginia. Clearly the recruiting budgets have expanded a great deal as Marshall routinely has coaches all along the east coast, and in all the southern states searching for the next Tony Petersen or Chad Pennington.

Two players in the class went on to have excellent careers. Greg Adkins was a 6'3", 260 pound lineman from Cross Lanes, WV. He is now the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Syracuse University. He was a standout lineman for the Herd, and moved on to eventually coach Marshall from 1991 to 1995 before moving on to other schools.

Eric Ihnat was a 6'4", 190 pound tight end from Columbus, Ohio. Ihnat went on to have an excellent career at Marshall and made it into the NFL to play with the Chicago Bears. Ihnat was an All American in 1990 when he led the Southern Conference with 55 receptions. He finished his career with 11 touchdown catches.

The rest of the class consisted of:

Rich Ceglie – Linebacker from Follansbee, WV
Tim Flaherty – Linebacker from Pittsburgh, PA
John Goble – Quarterback from Prestonburg, KY
Scott Heckel – Center from Pittsburgh, PA
Brent Lemons – Strong Safety from Prichard, WV
David Milo - Linebacker from Columbus, Ohio
Tim Mitchell – Free Safety from Decatur, GA
Patrick Nace – Defensive Tackle from Beaver, PA
B.D. Nunnery – Tailback from Prestonburg, KY
Darren Vance – Offensive guard from Milton, WV
Greg Supsura – Quarterback from McMurray , PA
Mike Yorio – Nose Guard from Jeannette, PA

It was just announced today that Coach George Chaump was elected to the Marshall Sports Hall of Fame. He coached from 1986 to 1989, ended with a 33 – 16 – 1 record. This included a run to the 1987 National Championship Game. He coached such stars as Mark Snyder, Ron Darby, Keith Baxter, Tony Petersen and John Gregory, just to name a few.

Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for further updates.

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