Herd Additions?

Throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Marshall’s football program at one point participated in bowl games for seven out of eight years. Prior to that, Marshall made deep runs into the division 1-AA football playoffs from 1991 though 1996. These are wonderful accolades, however, there are some things even bigger than that that came out of these post season runs.

Throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s, Marshall’s football program at one point participated in bowl games for seven out of eight years. Prior to that, Marshall made deep runs into the division 1-AA football playoffs from 1991 though 1996. These are wonderful accolades, however, there are some things even bigger than that that came out of these post season runs.

In each of those seasons, the Herd got as many as potentially 15 extra practices each season. For the most part, the coaching staffs would use part of that time for game prep, and the remaining time to get additional reps and learning experiences for the players expected to take over the following season.

Last season, while preparing for the Military Bowl against Maryland, Doc Holliday and his staff used this time period masterfully. First off he got ample reps at both the left guard and the right guard spots for Blake Brooks and Michael Selby. Both players played so well that they got very meaningful reps in the bowl game, and both entered the spring as starters with some experience.

In addition to the offensive line, the Herd also received two new players who became eligible after the Fall Semester, due to enrolling the previous January. Non qualifiers, by NCAA rule, have to be at a university for two semesters before they can participate in athletics. Last year this was the case for two of the biggest name recruits in Marshall football history, Deontay McManus and Angelo Jean Louis. Both hit the field running, and drew rave reviews from the coaches and their teammates.

Each player has parlayed that into successful freshman campaigns . Jean Louis started the season as a back up behind Davonte Allen and Craig Wilkins. McManus started the season behind Eric Frohnapfel and Ryan Yuracheck at tight end. That quickly changed as McManus was moved back out to wide receiver due to injuries to Davonte Allen and Justin Hunt.

McManus and Jean Louis are now fourth and fifth on the team in receiving. McManus, with two games remaining has 20 catches for 334 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jean Louis has 19 catches for 464 yards. That is an average of 24.4 yards per catch. He has grabbed 5 touchdowns, one of which went for 77 yards. These two, along with Hyleck Foster (12 for 199 and 3 TD) are all three freshman who should put up big numbers for the Herd over the next three seasons.

So, this may lead you to ask, is there anyone like that this year? The answer would be yes.

Marshall will take a big hit along the defensive line and of course at quarterback. Marshall will lose defensive ends Arnold Blackmon and Ra’Shawde Myers, and defensive tackle James Rouse. Returning defensive tackles Steve Dillon, Jarquez Samuel and Ricardo Williams will all be seniors next season, so replacing those guys is a big need.

Luckily, two mid year enrollees from last season should be able to participate in team drills starting at the end of the fall semester.

Malik Thompson – Thompson is a hulking 6’6”, 275 pound defensive end/defensive tackle who came to Marshall from Fork Union Military Academy last season. Thompson was a big time recruit with big time offers at one point before heading to FUMA. Thompson, most likely, will bulk up to 290 plus pounds and move into the inside.

Jason Smith – Smith is a 6’3”, 235 pound defensive end from East Coast Prep. Smith should be able to step in and work right away in place of the aforementioned graduating seniors. Marshall will return players such as Gary Thompson on the outside which should help to provide some experience while Smith gets his feet wet.

Chase Litton – Litton is a tall, lanky, big armed quarterback from Florida. Litton has not played since 2013, but will enroll for the spring semester. Due to not being ineligible, he should be able to participate in drills. It remains to be seen if he actually will. Litton is a three star quarterback who stands 6’6” tall. He weighs 200 pounds and will dive head first into the competition to replace All Everything Rakeem Cato. He will join Gunnar Holcombe, Cole Garvin and James Madison transfer Michael Birdsong.

The final potential mid year participant has been a Herdhaven.com enigma for nearly two full years. Two years ago, word was that a potential non qualifier could end up being one of the best players of the class. In an interview with a former Marshall offensive lineman recruit who never surfaced in Huntington, Herdhaven.com learned of a talented cornerback from Miami Jackson High School that could end up on campus. Two years later, Chris Williams Hall could finally be ready to participate on the field. Time will tell.

These are four players who, if eligible could step in and impact this team immediately. The question is, will they have an impact on the 2014 team as they push to close out the season with a win in a bowl game.

Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for further updates.

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