Three Position Battles to Watch

Fall camp is a time when position battles take place all over the field. Typically the battles are between a returning starter, and maybe an up can coming freshman, a JUCO recruit, or maybe a transfer who had to set out the previous season. This year, in Herd camp, there are three very interesting battles going on, all of them in the secondary.

Battle number 1:

Darryl Roberts vs. Derrick Thomas.

Roberts started as a true freshman and as a true sophomore. Prior to last season he was injured and due to having a redshirt year available, he missed the entire season. In 2011 he ended the season very strong, and actually preserved a bowl visit for Marshall with a game ending interception on fourth down in overtime against ECU. The interception gave Marshall their sixth win and a trip to the Beef O'Brady's Bowl, in which they beat Florida International. Roberts has changed his jersey number from 30 to 7.

Thomas is a transfer from Penn State. He came in last year as a junior and played an immediate role. By the end of the season, Thomas looked like a defensive back who could advance his game and actually play at the next level. Now he is locked in a battle with Roberts. Thomas ended last year with 53 tackles, 4 pass breakups, 2 tackles for loss and one interception.

Battle number 2:

Monterius Lovett vs. Keith Baxter

Lovett is entering his fifth season at Marshall. He redshirted as a freshman, but has been on the field ever since. Lovett is a leader on the field and on the sidelines. Lovett battled a nagging lower leg/foot injury last year that literally had him in a walking boot at all times except for game time. Lovett ended the season with 25 tackles, 2 interceptions and 6 pass break ups. He appears to be fully healthy at this time, and ended spring camp as the starter.

Baxter hit the ground running and got ample playing time two years ago as a true freshman. This past season, with injuries throughout the secondary, Baxter started, or played, every game in which he was healthy. Baxter is the son of former Marshall wide Receiver, also named Keith, who caught a game ending Hail mary touchdown pass in 1987 to beat Louisville on the road. Baxter ended last season with 33 tackles, one interception and 6 pass break ups. Of note, Baxter has changed his jersey number from 8 to 5.

Typically one of the guys who did not win the starting job would simply move over to the nickel position, however, that appears to be wrapped up by freshman Corey Tindal who had an outstanding spring.

One thing is certain though, defensive coordinator Chuck Heater will have options.

Battle number 3:

Safety: Taj Letman vs. A.J. Leggett

After Spring camp, if you asked any Herd supporter who the starting safety opposite D.J. Hunter would be, most would have said Letman. Letman is JUCO transfer who at one time was the fourth rated JUCO safety in the country before suffering a hand injury. Leggett is one of the highest rated high school prospects to ever come to Huntington. This will be his second year in the program after redshirting last year, primarily due to injuries. Leggett hit the ground running in August last season, but was hurt, and ended the year working out and watching from the sideline. Leggett is, "the real deal," according to some sources, and will push Letman throughout camp.

These are just three of the battles going on. The Linebacker position, and defensive tackle position are going to see battles the next two weeks as well. will update those as soon as they become a little clearer, as right now, each spot is nearly three deep with viable candidates.

Stay tuned to for further updates.

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