A Senior Class to be Thankful For

Over the coming days, families across the country will set down for Thanksgiving Dinner. Prior to eating, most families will take a few minutes and think back to things for which they are thankful. Topping the list will be family, health, and well being. After those important topics, many may think to their favorite sports team.

Marshall fans will most likely be thankful for the type of season their football program is putting together, especially seeing as how just a few short years ago the program was floundering around in mediocrity. Fans will be thankful for Doc Holliday, his recruiting, his coaches and for Athletic Director Mike Hamrick for hiring the staff.

Friday at noon, the Herd will take on Western Kentucky University as they try to finish out a perfect 12-0 regular season. The Herd are already Conference USA east champions and will host the winner of Rice and Louisiana Tech next Saturday.

Friday though will be Senior Day. And what a senior class this one will be. It is time for Marshall fans to take a look over the coming days at a group of young men that have worked hard to put their program back in the national limelight. Quite possibly, there has never been a more talent in one graduating class in Marshall football history.

The class is made up by approximately 19 future Sons of Marshall. That number could be different based on eligibility questions that they may have based on redshirt years, medical redshirts etc, that Herdhaven.com is unaware of at this time.

2014 Senior Class:

Tommy Shuler- Shuler on the year has 57 catches for 737 yards and 7 touchdowns. For his career, Shuler has 287 catches for 3,162 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Demetrius Evans – Evans on the year has 4 catches for 47 yards. For his career, he has 60 catches for 510 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Neville Hewitt – Hewitt was a junior college transfer last season and this is his second and final season on the Herd defense. He has had an excellent season. For the year he has 91 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

Darryl Roberts – Roberts started and played as a true freshman. However, later on he suffered an off season injury which caused him to miss an entire year, allowing him to redshirt. He is a fifth year senior leader on this team. For the year he has 56 tackles, 13 pass breakups and one interception. For his career he has 166 tackles, 5 interceptions and 29 pass breakups.

James Rouse – Rouse is a sixth year senior who suffered two major injuries early on his career. He is consistently one of the team captains and the leader of a much improved defense. Rouse, on the season, has 28 tackles, and 8 tackles for loss. For his career he has 86 tackles and 8.5 sacks.

Raheem Waiters – Waiters came to Marshall, like Rouse, under the previous coaching regime of Mark Snyder. Waiters came as a wide receiver, then moved to safety and finally linebacker. This season Waiters has 22 tackles, he has 73 tackles for his career.

Justin Haig – Haig has played four years at kicker for Marshall. This year he has converted all 64 of his extra point attempts and 11 of his 15 field goals. For his career he has converted 202 of 205 extra points, and 36 of 49 field goals. He currently has 310 career points.

Kevin Rodriguez – Rodriguez is a walk on running back who has played on special teams and had minimal carries throughout his career, but earned a scholarship last year due to his hard work and practice ethic.

Ra’Shawde Myers – Myers came to Marshall as an academic non qualifier. His career has blossomed five years after Doc Holliday said he could be an NFL player someday. Myers has been a leader on the defense this year. For the season he has 33 tackles, five tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. For his career he has 109 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.

Jermaine Holmes – Holmes came on to the scene early on as a freshman and has played in 50 career games. Early on as a freshman, the coaching staff often said he is too good to keep off the field, but right now he doesn’t know what he is doing, but he is so good that if he guesses right, he will make the play. Holmes has blossomed into one of the best defenders on the team. This season he has 83 tackles, 9 tackles for loss. For his career he has 275 career tackles.

Cortez Carter – Carter came in in the same class as Holmes. Both are four year, true seniors. Carter has been a special teams force throughout his career. This season he has 11 tackles, and has 65 tackles in his career in 48 games.

Blake Brooks – Brooks is an offensive lineman who came to Marshall as a walk on transfer. He started on the defensive side of the ball and has moved to offense. Last season he came on to the scene and played big time minutes in the Military Bowl. He came into the 2014 season as the starting left guard. He suffered an early season injury.

Malcolm Strong – Strong has played in 12 career games and made 11 tackles.

Chris Jasperse – Jasperse came to Marshall as a walk on. He will leave Marshall as one of the most recognized faces on one of the best teams in school history. His leadership on and off the field cannot be matched. Jasperse is always smiling and welcoming to fans. He attends nearly all off season events and is one of the most recognized players on the team. He will go down as one of the best centers in school history.

Trevor Mendelson- Mendelson also was a walk on offensive lineman. When the aforementioned Blake Brooks got hurt, Mendelson moved in to play the tackle position moving Sebastion Johansson from tackle to guard.

Craig Wilkins – Wilkins is a senior wide receiver with incredible hands. Wilkins played as a true freshman and will finish his career this season. For the season he has 16 catches for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns. For his career he has 62 catches for 726 yards and five touchdowns.

Eric Frohnapfel – Frohnapfel came to Marshall with his twin brother, quarterback, Blake. Blake, playing behind Rakeem Cato, transferred to UMASS this past off season. Eric famously changed his commitment from West Virginia to Marshall. Frohnapfel played behind Gator Hoskins, and has finally got to shine this season. For the year, Frohnapfel has 30 catches for 375 yards and three touchdowns. For his career, he has 59 catches for 667 yards and eight touchdown grabs.

Arnold Blackmon- Blackmon is another junior college transfer. Blackmon has blasted onto the scene this year as a dominating, game changing defensive end. This past weekend on the road at UAB, with the Herd trailing 18 to 17 late in the fourth quarter, Blackmon came off the end and forced a fumble in the endzone which was recovered by Ra’Shawde Myers for what proved to be the game winning touchdown and preserved the Herd’s 11-0 season. For the year, Blackmon has 34 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 7 sacks and four forced fumbles. For his career he has 54 tackles, 18 tackles for loss 8 sacks and 5 forced fumbles.

Rakeem Cato – Cato came to Marshall as a young immature quarterback from South Florida. He came in with Doc Holliday, when all of Marshall assumed AJ Graham would be the starting quarterback. Early on in fall camp, Cato unseated Graham, and stole the starting position. He played through a sluggish freshman season and led the Herd to a bowl game and a bowl victory. His sophomore season he stormed into the forefront as one of the best offensive players in school history. He has not let up since that point. He will end his career with more touchdown passes and more passing yards than any quarterback in Marshall history which includes Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich.

Entering what should be his final three games as the quarterback for the Marshall Thundering Herd, Cato is already holding multiple records and should break the overall passing yardage record early on in the first half against Western Kentucky in the regular season finale. Currently Cato has thrown for 13,073 total yards. He has completed 1,074 of his 1,709 career passes. He has tossed 119 touchdowns against just 39 interceptions. His senior season, which has seen him become a team leader who just wants to win has seen him complete 188 of his 322 passes for 2,897 yards. He has thrown 28 touchdowns and just 8 interceptions. In addition to his passing, he has rushed for 400 yards this year and tallied an additional 6 touchdowns on the ground.

It is easy to see that this is one of the greatest senior classes in school history. There are at least four solid future Marshall Hall of Famers who will walk across the field Friday for their final regular season football game at the Joan.

Marshall fans far and wide should be very thankful for not just the type of players that are in the program right now, but the type of people each kid has grown into. This class has carried your program to heights it has not reached in many years.

Join Herdhaven.com Friday afternoon, twenty minutes before kickoff, as all of Herd Country says hello and then good bye to the Senior Class of 2014.

Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for further updates and stories.

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