Game week is dragging along slowly for fans across the country. For a few groups of fans, their game day is a mere two days away as Major College football is set to get started on Thursday night. For fans of the green and white, an extra three days of waiting is added to that time line as the Herd opens on Sunday, on National TV against Purdue from the Big 10.
The Herd is set to have one of its best group of linebackers in school history. Marshall has had many excellent, top notch linebackers such as Max Yates, Larry McCloud, John Grace, Mario Harvey and Neville Hewitt just to name a few off the top of the head. But never has the Herd had such a deep, talented and veteran group as they do right now.
Expected starters at the three linebacker spots should be, senior DJ Hunter at the Strong side spot, Juniors Shawn Petty or Tre Tyler at the middle linebacker spot, and senior Evan McKelvey at the weak side spot.
Hunter came to the Herd nearly five full years ago after having committed to the University of Tennessee. His long road led him to Huntington where he has played and excelled at both linebacker and safety, settling back in last year at the linebacker spot. Hunter should be backed up by Frankie Hernandez or Chase Hancock. Hernandez was one of the most talented players in the class of 2014 but set out as an academic non qualifier. Hancock is a local walk on from Logan, WV. He made a big splash in spring practice and has continued to see minutes throughout camp.
The Middle linebacker spot is manned by former Maryland linebacker Shawn Petty, and Junior college transfer Tre Tyler. Both players moved ahead of Raheim Huskey on the depth chart. Huskey came on very strong last year after setting out the previous season. Petty was dinged up in camp but is expected to be ready to go this Sunday. Will he beat out Tyler is the question. Tyler has made a huge impact and some coaches say the Herd has never had a linebacker like Tyler since they began here. The thing is, how often will they see the field. Most teams in CUSA run a spread offense with a high tendency to pass. In Nickel situations it would be hard to take McKelvey or Hunter off the field.
The Weak side spot is manned by one of the most athletic linebackers in school history. McKevley is the brother of former NFL safety Omar Brown. McKevley went down early last year with an injury and was awarded a redshirt year. He is back, healthy and ready to lead the Herd’s defense as they try to offset multiple losses on the offensive side of the ball.
McKelvey will be backed up by Huskey and Hernandez.
Even with the loss of McKelvey and Hunter after this season the Herd will be returning some big time linebackers. Most notably is former five star JUCO and number four ranked JUCO player in the nation Davon Durant. Durant signed and attended Arizona State before transferring to the Herd this summer. Durant is 6’2”, and 230 pounds and will have two years to play with the Herd.
Class of 2015 Linebackers:
Class of 2016 Linebackers:
Three star Cody Mitchell has committed to play for the Herd.
George Davis signed with the Herd last year and is not qualified, he should be with the program next summer.
Projected Depth Chart (unofficial)
Sam (Strong Side) Linebacker
Mike (Middle) Linebacker
Will (Weak Side) Linebacker
Stay tuned to Herdhaven as we focus on the rest of the defense and hit the offense.
Don’t forget to check out the forums, and make your predictions for the Home opener.