Spring has arrived. The winter around Huntington was not rough on Marshall fans, but judging by the comments from Doc Holliday’s Press conference today, it was a rough one on the players. Holliday said, “this was the toughest winter since we have been here.” He added that, “we were just not a very good football team last year.” Spring practice begins tomorrow afternoon at the Joan, weather permitting, it will be open to the public. Herdhaven.com will be there to bring you a full recap later on in the evening. Until then, time to take a look at some of the new faces that will suit up in the green and white tomorrow for the first time.
Marshall welcomes five mid year Junior College transfers to campus. Holliday said today that the Herd has had excellent success in the past few years with the JC transfers, and have had very few misses. Herd stars who came to Huntington via the JC route include Taj Letman, Arnold Blackmon, and Neville Hewitt just to name a few. Marshall returns Junior College transfer Anthony Anderson at running back, and will add the following:
Kereon Merrell – Defensive Back
Merrell will jump right into the defensive back mix with a group that struggled at times last season. Rodney Allen should retain his starting position, which last year he held alongside freshman Chris Jackson. Jackson received a lot of playing time last year, and should be bigger and stronger, but will need to show improvement to hold off Merrell. Also in the mix will be Dontrell Johnson, Jaylon McClain Sapp and Jestin Morrow. Morrow has the speed and athletic ability to play anywhere on the field.
Artis Johnson – Safety/Linebacker
Johnson is listed as a safety, which means he would be joining a mix of several star caliber players. Kendall Gant is a true senior who played last year alongside Virginia Tech transfer CJ Reavis. Reavis will be limited in spring practice due to two shoulder surgeries, so that should allow Johnson to get a lot of reps. The position is loaded with talent. In addition to Gant, Reavis and Johnson, Marshall also returns redshirt freshman Brandon Drayton. Drayton is a tall safety who originally was headed to Indiana. George Davis could also play some safety, or outside linebacker, or nickel.
Armani Levias – Tight End
Levias is one of the most important additions in this years class, the fact he can start practicing now is huge. Levias will play tight end alongside Ryan Yurachek and take over for the graduating Emmanual Bryd. Byrd was also a junior college transfer. Also playing tight end at this time will be Cody Mitchell. Kaleb Harris will no longer be playing football due to medical issues.
Marcell Williams – Slot Wide Receiver
Williams joins the Herd this spring and will join a slot wide receiver position in much need of talent and explosion. Holliday noted during his press conference today that the wide receiver position will have as much speed as it has had since his arrival. Williams expects to play the slot position and will also be pushed by Gator Green and Simino Walden. In addition, the wild card here is former wide receiver turned running back, Hyleck Foster will be moving back to the wide receiver spot for his senior season.
Donyae Moody – Linebacker
Moody joins what should be the deepest, most talented, most highly touted position on the team. Moody was ready to go to Ole Miss before committing and ultimately signing with the Thundering Herd. He will join former Arizona State signee Davon Durant, former Miami of Florida linebacker Juwon Young, among others this spring. Then, this summer he will be joined by former Alabama commit Jaquan Yulee. The talent is definitely not lacking at the linebacker position.
In addition to the Junior College Transfers, Marshall will also be allowed to have four star, former UCLA signee Darian Owens practice this spring. Owens will then be eligible to play this summer. Owens is a very talented, big wide receiver who will immediately add over the top potential to the Marshall offense. In addition to Owens, Tyre Brady will be on the field. Brady, another Miami of Florida transfer, could very well be the best wide receiver on the team. Also of note, former defensive back, Tramell Carey, has been moved to wide receiver.
Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for all your up to the minute information as spring football has arrived in Huntington.