A couple weeks ago while scrolling through facebook I noticed that former Marshall defensive back Daninelle Derricott was logged on. I moved over to his name and shot him a simple message asking if he had a few minutes to talk. He sent me back his phone number and later that evening we talked. Little did I know it was his first interview since he left Marshall. As a fan of his while he played here, getting a chance to talk to him and pick his brain was very enjoyable.
Below is a transcript of our conversation.
1. You had so many awesome game changing moments while at Marshall. The interception against South Carolina, the play against Toledo, blocked kick against Wofford I think it was, etc. Which one was the most fun, the interception and the ending of the South Carolina game seemed incredible.
Derricott: I think it would be the Wofford game. Everyone looked for us to beat Wofford so bad, we were high, they came in there and played us very good. We had to make a play on that kick to win the game. We lined up in the wrong formation, we didn’t lined up right, that was the best play for me. We were getting ready to maybe lose. Didn’t even plan it, Coach (Jay) Hopson said, go block the damn kick. That was the play that I most remembered and appreciated. We weren’t expected to beat SC, so that was good, but not as good. Hopson said make the damn play, be the playmaker. They called me Lucky Charms, they said they needed a play, meant a lot for the coach to ask me to go make a play. Biggest play of my career.
2. What did the noise from the Marshall fans at the South Carolina game and Clemson game sound like from down on the field.
Derricott: To be honest, all during the game, we had seen the fans, and heard them when we were up, but when the game was over, it felt like we were playing at home. We saw green and white everywhere during the game, but after the game was great. The Herd fans are great. It has been awhile since I have been back down for a game. Coach Pruett had a great fan base and great families, a lot of times our fans won the games for us, we didn’t want to disappoint the fans.
3. Who recruited you to Marshall. What other schools were interested in you and what made you choose the Herd.
Derricott: Coach Pruett was recruiting my brother Aaron Kinney, who played tight end at Florida, he was the DC at Florida, and he came up to recruit my brother saw some of my film. He said, I want you to come too, but my grades weren’t the best. He recruited me. A lot of offers, but Coach Pruett was so honest, and I fell in love with him.
4. Do you follow Marshall still now?
Derricott: I follow them as much as I can. Marshall will always be important to me.
5. What did you like the most about Marshall and Huntington?
Derricott: That’s easy, the people and the fans, the community, we were small, but that community was so loud and supportive. We didn’t have much in Huntington, but we had Marshall. We were family, treated all my coaches like my dads.
6. Do you make it back for many games?
Derricott: I haven’t been to a game since I left, I never have gotten to come back down. If it wasn’t for Marshall, there would never have been a Danny Derricott. I really want to try and get down as soon as I can.
7. What are you doing now? Work, kids, etc. Do you coach any football?
Derricott: I work in sales in Richmond. Played a couple years in Canada, won a Grey Cup with Montreal, had a great career, can’t complain at all. Played football for so long, I did beat John Grace one year at Ottawa, spanked that John Grace butt. I loved him, but he was the man down there, and we beat them. It felt so good to beat them, we knocked the best off. He had like 12 or 13 tackles but we beat them.
8. What all did you know about the plane crash and the history while at Marshall?
Derricott: They talked about the crash a lot, to be honest, when you were young, we knew about it, and it was brought up in meetings, and other times as well by the coaches. I can’t say enough about the coaches that I had. Coach Pruett was such a father figure, he gave people like me Nate (Poole), and Randy (Moss) another chance in life to succeed, after others had wrote us off.
As I said before, this was the first time Derricott had been interviewed since he left Marshall and headed to Canada, as of now, he has not made it back to Huntington for a football game but he speaks very highly of the community and the program for making him the person that he is today.
“All those players and coaches gave me an opportunity to play at Marshall and I gave my best, they gave me the opportunity to be successful, there would be no Lucky Charms and Danny D without Marshall.”
I asked Derricott who gave him the nickname “Lucky Charms,” He said, “I don’t remember who gave me the Lucky Charms nickname, I think it was Rogers Beckett or a fan, I know I saw several fans holding Lucky Charms cereal boxes.”
“I had so many great moments at Marshall and in my football career but I would say my most my most favorite moment was just being a member of the Thundering Herd and Marshall fans accepting me. Getting to put on that Green and White every day. Putting on the uniform and the helmet. Best thing that I could represent. Just putting it on every day and say I am the Thundering Herd. I didn’t realize it that much at that moment, but I realize now how important putting that helmet on was.”
“My era was the greatest, we had more wins in the 90’s. I feel like I need to give more back than they gave to me.”
“Coach Pruett, Coach Hopson, Coach (Mark)Gale, Nate Poole, Chad (Pennington), Rogers, Randy, Doug (Chapman), all those guys made a difference in my life it was a different story. Maurice Hines, Coach Pruett made us all connected, we all had difference personalities. Chad was relaxed, everyone else had different personalities, and we won, because the coaches, Larry Moore, Paul Toviessi, BJ Cohen, it made work, fun. It just doesn’t always work in college football all the time, but it worked at Marshall we went from 1-AA to beating Clemson, SC, BYU. Coach Pruett would always say we won because we are suppose to beat them, it was required for us to beat them. It was a blessing and something I will always appreciate. I am a proud alumni.”
Derricott continued, “To come from the Ashes to Glory and be ranked and have the most wins in the 90’s was just unheard of. No one can ever, ever take that away. I don’t care what college you go to, no one can ever take that away. A team in Huntington, WV. I am proud to say I was a part of it.”
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