Marshall lost one of its best defensive backs in school history due to graduation after this past season. Darryl “Swag” Roberts played four years at Marshall and even played as a true freshman before being redshirted his second year due to an injury. Roberts will need to be replaced this year, and one of his replacements, Keith Baxter will need to be replaced after 2015.
In the pass happy Conference USA, defenses also nearly always have a third defensive back on the field on virtually every play. This year, Marshall expects to start, at this time anyway, Corey Tindal and Baxter, along with Antavis Rowe at the nickel position. The need for depth to push these players and possibly replace them because of injury or poor performance will be very important.
Doc Holliday and his staff went out in the 2015 recruiting class and made sure there would be more than enough high quality talent to be placed in these positions.
Herdhaven caught up with one such 2015 recruit this week.
Antonio Howard was one of the most coveted recruits in the 2015 class. Howard had been a commitment to West Virginia University for quite some time, as his father, wide receiver Antonio Brown had been a star at the Morgantown campus. Brown however, also had a close relationship with the coach who recruited him to Morgantown, Holliday.
Howard visited the Marshall campus a week before signing day and made up his mind to flip his commitment to the Herd. Shockwaves went throughout both fan bases and social media was all over the story.
Howard is a 5’11”, 178 pound defensive back with high end speed. He was rated three stars coming out of Hialeah- Miami Lakes High School in South Florida. Howard played at some of the highest levels of football in the state and thrived.
Howard was rated the number 107th cornerback in the country. He was the 40th best corner in the south and the 14th best corner in the talent rich state of Florida. He had numerous offers, but ultimately chose the Herd.
Howard, will report to campus in June. Howard and I were discussing the defensive back situation with the Herd, and he simply said, “I was born for this.”
Howard remains in contact with the coaches as often as possible. Howard hopes to wear number 6 when he gets to Marshall. When asked about the whole recruiting process and how it played out, Howard, a man of few words, simply said, “I am very thankful.”
Other defensive backs that should play into the mix in the 2015 season are Chris Williams-Hall, Michael Johnson, Rodney Allen and Chocolate Wilson. Allen and Williams-Hall have had excellent camps. However, with three defensive backs on the field at all times, the more the merrier for the coaching staff at Marshall.
Stay tuned to Herdhaven for further updates on current incoming recruits as well as potential members to the class of 2016. Coming later today, Herdhaven catches up with Green and White game visitor, offensive lineman Tarik Adams.