Defensive Line Help

Although the offense of Marshall last season was nearly second to none in regards to production, the defensive side of the football seems to be where more of the story lines are. Sure, offensive studs like Rakeem Cato and Tommy Shuler return for the Herd, but the question is, what is going to happen on the other side of the ball to ensure the Herd wins more than five games.

Throughout the unit, changes are being made. Players are switching positions, bulking up, etc. Some players have left the program, others have moved on in. The defensive line returns a good bit of talent in defensive ends Alex Bazzie and Jeremiah Taylor, and defensive tackles Brandon Sparrow, Steve Dillon, Jarquez Samuel and Ken Smith. The unit did lose senior Marquis Aiken who has apparently transferred to the University of Cincinnati to conclude his career under former coach Fred Tate.

Two players not being spoken much about right now that will be practicing in August but who have been on campus for a year are defensive tackle Josh Brown and defensive end to be Gary Thompson.

Brown, as many of you may remember originally signed with Clemson University, but left due to issues and enrolled at Marshall this past August. He is now academically eligible and ready to join the team. Brown is a large, athletic defensive tackle. Brown is 6'5" tall and weighs nearly 280 pounds, even at that size he has been clocked in the 4.85 to 4.9 range in the 40.

Brown should add quality depth to the defensive tackle spot, if not battle for a starting spot along the defensive line. In addition to losing Aiken this season, Marshall will lose Brandon Sparrow and Ken Smith to graduation after the 2013 campaign. The Herd will also lose Jeremiah Taylor and Alex Bazzie at the defensive end position, which is one of the reasons the following player has moved up to put a hand on the ground.

Former linebacker, safety, track star, Gary Thompson, from Helix High School in California will now be a defensive end. Thompson put up incredible times in the 100 meters in High school and was expected to be an outside linebacker at Marshall. However, due to the arrival of other linebackers and the impending departure of defensive ends, a position change was required.

Thompson, at 6'3" and assuming more than his previously listed 200 pounds, will add speed to the outside. Thompson could step in and play right away, even with the arrival of other defensive ends this fall.

Brown was a former three star defensive tackle, and Thompson a two star linebacker out of high school.

Both players have been a part of two of the most attractive recruiting classes in school history.

Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for further updates.

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