Flashback to the Recruiting Class of '88

Over the past decade the rankings of college football recruiting classes have become the "in" thing to talk about. Who signed the most 4 star recruits, what did that bring the schools overall point totals too. Marshall has continually moved up the rankings lists since the arrival of Doc Holliday.

Holliday has been known to hit the South Florida area, and recently with the emergence of Todd Hartley, the Herd has been pulling talent out of the state of Georgia.

It wasn't that long ago that Marshall's recruiting plan was much different. In 1987 Marshall had just made its first trip to the Division 1-AA National Championship Game. Coach George Chaump hit the recruiting trails hard and pulled in a solid recruiting class which would provide a solid foundation for the schools' first National Championship Winning team of 1992.

Herdhaven.com takes a flash back in time to look at the Marshall recruiting class of 1988.

The class was made up of eight players from Ohio, seven from Florida, four from West Virginia, three from Pennsylvania, and two from Georgia. In addition, Marshall welcomed eight transfers into the program. Those transfers included one from Norfolk State, one from Ellsworth Community College, one from West Chester Community College, one from North Carolina State and an astounding four transfers in from San Joaquin Delta Community College.

The coaching staff signed seven defensive lineman, five offensive lineman and five wide receivers.

Six players from this recruiting class would help build the foundation of that special team in 1992 which built a big lead against Youngstown, only to lose it all, and still drive down for a game winning field goal on National TV which led to the stadium field being rushed and the goal posts being torn from the ground.

Bob Lane and Byron Litton were brought in from Pittsburgh and Parkersburg respectively. Both ended up playing along the defensive line, although Lane was recruited as a 215 pound linebacker. Litton was a 6'6", 220 pound defensive lineman from Parkersburg South High School in West Virginia.

PJ Wood and Frank Featner were both offensive lineman brought in as a part of the 1988 class. Only Wood would emerge as a starter in that 92 campaign. Wood was a 6'2", 235 pound offensive tackle from Bellaire, Ohio.

Then there were the big three, three players in the 1988 who were big time contributors to the 92 championship run, two of which are already inducted into the Marshall Hall of Fame.

Michael Payton won the Walter Payton award in 1992, which is the Division 1-AA version of the Heisman Trophy. By the time he finished his career he was the school leader in virtually every passing category, including yards, attempts, completions and touchdown passes just to name a few. Currently, thanks to the likes of Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich, and Rakeem Cato, he sets forth in all of the aforementioned statistical categories. Payton came to the Herd from Dauphin East High School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Mike Bartrum was the starting tight end in the 1992 season. He was recruited out of Meigs County, Ohio. The Pomeroy native is now highly involved with his home town. Bartrum was the third leg in what was an extraordinary run of tight ends at Marshall University. Prior to Bartrum, the Herd had Sean Doctor and Eric Inhat. Bartrum would go on to play many years in the NFL as a tight end and most notably, a long snapper. He is a member of the Marshall Football Hall of Fame.

Orlando Hatchett was the other big name recruit in the 88 class. Hatchett, from West Reserve High School in Canton Ohio was key in the championship win, especially on the game winning drive as he had a big, hard nosed run to set up Willy Merrick's game winning kick. Hatchett is currently 12th in school history in rushing yards with 2,143. His 26 rushing touchdowns rank him 10th in school history.

Two other players who contributed in big ways while at Marshall were wide receiver Ricardo Clark, and defensive back Derek Grier. Clark came to Marshall from Tignall, Georgia. Grier, who would later play in the CFL, came to Marshall from Atlanta, Georgia.

The rest of the class included: Dom Anzevino from Poland, Ohio, Roche Croye from Wheelersburg, Ohio, Greg Groothuis from Venice, Florida, John Humphreys from Sissonville, WV, Jay Jackson from Tallahassee, Florida, Mike Lucas from Crown City, Ohio, Greg Mulberry from Gainesville, Florida, Randall and Reginald Pittman from Cottondale, Florida, Chris Rakow from Pittsburgh, John Saccoccia from Steubenville, Ohio, Tony Spence from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Terry Vliek from Jacksonville, Florida, Brent Wells from Winfield, WV, Eric Williams from Louisville, Kentucky, and Ahmed Witten from Charleston, WV.

Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com as we continue to walk down memory lane.

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