Most football fans have heard the saying, “games are won and lost in the trenches,” a thousand and one times in their lives. If that is the case this year in Conference USA, then expect the Herd to have an outstanding 2015 campaign. Today, Herdhaven will take a look at both the offensive and defensive lines. Both lines are expected to lead the team both on and off the field. That was shown again today when Jarquez Samuel, Michael Selby and Clint Van Horn were named three of the four game starters, along with linebacker DJ Hunter.
Sandley Jean Felix will be the starting left guard, the hulking sophomore has improved leaps and bounds and Coach Doc Holliday has said he could play in the NFL someday. He will bookend the offensive line with right tackle Clint Van Horn. Van Horn is another potential NFL prospect. The two potential all CUSA tackles will be backed up by AJ Addison and senior, former walk on Tom Collins, although redshirt freshman Federice Binot is pushing for playing time at both spots.
The guard spots will be manned be Sebastian Johansson and Nate Devers. Johansson is a senior work horse for the Herd who could also slide over to tackle if need be. Devers is a redshirt freshman who originally committed to the University of Cincinnati before flipping to the Herd. Big Swede, as Johansson is referred to, and Devers will be backed up by Binot and Jordan Dowrey. Dowrey battled Devers throughout spring camp before losing out heading into August.
The center spot vacated by Chris Jasperse will be manned by captain Michael Selby. Selby who is a true junior is expected to carry on where Jasperse left off. Selby will be backed up by Cody Collins.
Sandley Jean Felix
Clint Van Horn
Tom Collins, although Binot could play ahead of Collins
2015 Recruiting Class Lineman
Members of the 2016 recruiting class who have committed to the Herd are:
The defensive line is loaded with veterans, especially up the middle. The defensive tackles are primarily three fifth year seniors, starters Samuel and Steve Dillon, and back up Ricardo Williams who transferred to the Herd from the University of Miami. Sophomore Tomell One will help to fill the depth chart along with freshman Jason Smith, Malik Thompson and Nyquan Harris. Harris, after the first two weeks of camp was one of Herdhaven’s most surprising players. Harris had multiple great practices early on in camp. How that unfolds on the field remains to be seen.
The defensive end position lost a lot last year with the graduation of Arnold Blackmon and Rashawde Myers. Replacing those two will be redshirt junior Joe Massaquoi and Gary Thompson. It is Thompson’s turn to be an every down lineman instead of someone who is there to rush the quarterback and make big plays as he has done throughout the first two years of his career. Senior Armonze Daniel is expected to have a big senior year after three unproductive campaigns. Daniel had a great spring in 2014, but it did not translate to the field last year. Defensive line coaches Sean Cronin and JC Price hope that is not the case this season.
Other defensive lineman expected to step in and make a difference are former UCF transfer Blake Keller. Former Virginia Tech commit Damien Dozier enrolled at Marshall this January and had very good spring practice.
Ty Tyler, who came to Marshall as a linebacker, broke his way onto the two deep rotation early on in camp and stayed there throughout.
Ryan Bee could also factor into the mix.
Projected Depth Chart:
Defensive Lineman in the Class of 2015
Current Defensive line commitments in the Class of 2016
Sean Behrens, although Behrens could end up on the offensive side of the ball
Stay tuned to Herdhaven for further updates as we take a look at the rest of the offense later.