Operation: Replace Gator

Harold "Gator" Hoskins came to Marshall four years ago as a quarterback/wide receiver/safety, now he is getting some first team reps during OTA's with the Miami Dolphins, at, Tight End. Gator had an outstanding senior season in 2013, ending the year with 50 catches, and 15 touchdowns. Who will replace those numbers in 2014, can anyone on the Herd replace those numbers?

Doc Holliday appears to be set to enter the season with a tight end by committee approach as four guys are vying for as many reps as possible.

Herdhaven.com will take a look at all four candidates today:

Eric Frohnapfel – Frohnapfel will wear number 83, and could very well step in and receive the bulk of the plays at the position. Frohnapfel is a very smart player who is long at 6'6", and stout enough to block at 229 pounds. Frohnapfel is a former three star tight end from Stafford, Virginia. Frohnapfel is a true senior this year after having played as a true freshman. His twin brother Blake, a quarterback, transferred from the Herd this year to UMASS.

Devon Johnson – Johnson came on very strong late last year, especially in the East Carolina game when he entered "beast mode" and scored two touchdowns, run via the run, and one via a long pass, catch and run. Johnson is a bruiser and one of the hardest runners on the team. Johnson is a solid 6'1" and 254 pounds. Johnson wears number 47, and will be a true junior this season.

Deon-tay McManus – McManus is a potential superstar. McManus, at one point, was a four star wide receiver planning to attend West Virginia University after having offers from virtually ever FBS school in the region. McManus is from Maryland and came to Marshall via the Atlanta Sports Academy. The Sports Academy also has sent the Herd Kent Turene, Corey Tindal, current commit Chase Litton, and punter Tyler Williams.

McManus is 6'2", and 227 pounds. He enrolled at Marshall last January and had to set out two semesters to get qualified. He was able to practice in preparation for the bowl game this past December, and many people who witnessed practice said he was built to play right now. He had the body and the ability to play immediately. He is built more like the departing Gator Hoskins. He also got to participate in spring practice, and showed his ability but also showed that he was a freshman playing football for the first time in over a year. McManus wears number 16. He will be a redshirt freshman in the 2014 season.

Joe Woodrum – Woodrum is a former walk on who earned a scholarship last season, from Beckley, West Virginia. Woodrum is built more like Frohnapfel. Woodrum is 6'6", and 235 pounds. He has shown the ability to step in and play if needed. Most likely he will end up fourth on this list, but as he grows, he becomes and big target for returning super star quarterback Rakeem Cato to throw to.

The fifth member of this group just arrived on campus. Ryan Yurachek is a tight end coming to the Herd from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Yurachek is a two star recruit who comes to the Herd with a work ethic ready to get on the field early.

Marshall has had a long history of excellent tight ends. Sean Doctor got everything started, then handed off to Mike Bartrum and Eric Inhat. After Inhat come multiple tight ends including Gregg Kellett, Jason Rader, Lee Smith, Cody Slate, and of course, most recently, the aforementioned Gator Hoskins.

Which member of the group of five will elevate their play up to those levels remains to be seen, however, the talent is clearly there and one would expect that one of them should emerge as an All CUSA type of talent.

Returning Stats:

Devon Johnson – 12 catches for 218 yards and 2 touchdowns
Eric Frohnapfel – 7 catches for 95 yards and 2 touchdowns
Joe Woodrum – 1 catch for 26 yards

Spring Game Stats:

Deon-tay McManus – 3 catches for 37 yards and 1 touchdown
Eric Frohnapfel – 1 catch for 56 yards
Joe Woodrum – 1 catch for 16 yards

Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com as we try to get you guys through the long hot football empty summer.

Herd Haven Top Stories