Marshall Announces 2004 Football Signing Class

Marshall University Football Coach Bob Pruett announced a class of 20 players signed today. "We were able to address our needs and concerns with this class," said Pruett. "On paper, it looks like an outstanding class. We competed very well against schools from the SEC, Big Ten, Big East and Conference USA." Included in this official list is Marcus Fitzgerald, who signed with Marshall last year, but did not enroll untilJanuary of 2004. Here is a capsule on each recruit:

Joe Bragg (6-4, 254, TE, Morgantown H.S., Morgantown, W.Va.) Notes: Three year starter at Morgantown H.S. where he was twice named first-team all-state and All-Morgantown Dominion Post ... helped Morgantown to two state football titles and was the 2003 runner-up for the Hunt Award (best lineman in West Virginia) ... has a 4.9 40-yard dash time.

Jeff Bush (6-3, 225, DE, Jack Britt H.S., Fayetteville, N.C.) Notes: Recorded six sacks and 100 tackles as a senior ... three-year starter in basketball that averaged 11 points per game ... named to the 2003 All-Cape Fear Region Team.

Bilal El-Amin (6-3, 240, DE, Lafayette H.S., Lexington, Ky.) Notes: Recorded eight sacks, 86 tackles, and 19 tackles for loss despite missing four and a half games due to a high ankle sprain ... garnered all-city and second team all-state accolades ... also recruited by Kentucky, Louisville, Northwestern, Michigan State, Purdue, and Cincinnati.

Jermaine Filer (6-3, 190, WR/DB, Countryside H.S., Clearwater, Fla.) Notes: Recorded 37 catches for 858 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior ... scored three touchdowns on defense (two interception returns and one fumble recovery) as a senior ... second-team all-state selection ... first-team all-county as a WR and a DB, and an all-region pick ... rated as the fifth best player in the Tampa Bay Area by the St. Petersburg Times.

Marcus Fitzgerald (5-10, 195, RB, Academy of Holy Angles. Minneapolis, Minn.) Notes: Already in the Marshall program ... rushed for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his prep career ... as a senior he rushed for 1,300 yards, including one game with 228 yards on 34 carries ... named team MVP ... all-state, all-conference, and all-metro as a senior ... brother of University of Pittsburgh Heisman finalist Larry Fitzgerald, Jr.

Phillip Gamble (5-11, 190, RB/KR, Bainbridge H.S., Bainbridge, Ga.) Notes: Rushed for 1,373 yards and 13 touchdowns on 183 carries ... led the region in all-purpose yardage (2,170) en route to being named first-team all-state.

Demone Goins (6-3, 210, QB/FS, Lumberton H.S., Lumberton, Miss.) Notes: Played both quarterback and free safety at Lumberton ... all-region selection in 2001, 2002, and 2003 ... named team MVP in 2002 and offensive MVP in 2003 ... rushed for 600 yards as a quarterback ... his college decision came down to Southern Mississippi and Marshall ... has a 4.5 40-yard dash time.

Ian Hoskins (6-2, 190, FS, Campbellsville H.S., Campbellsville, Ky.) Notes: The Class A Region 2 Player-of-the-Year as voted on by the Kentucky Football Coaches Association .... recorded more than 1,800 yards rushing, caught 21 passes for 285 yards, and scored 24 touchdowns and two two-point conversions ... notched 86 tackles and grabbed six interceptions ... also plays basketball and averages nearly 18 points per game.

James Houston (6-2, 183, CB/FS/QB, Starmount H.S., Booneville, N.C.) Notes: Recorded 21 interceptions over his last two prep seasons ... played in the North Carolina/South Carolina All-Star Game ... rushed for 13 touchdowns and threw for eight ... selected to play in the East/West All-Star Game in the summer of 2003 ... averaging more than 15 points per game in basketball ... has a 4.48 40-yard dash time.

Jason Kaminski (6-3, 225, LB, Hargrave Military/C.D. Hylton H.S., Woodbridge, Va.) Notes: Hargrave team MVP ... an all-state, all-northwest region, all-district, and all-conference selection in high school ... helped C.D. Hylton to two state championships, while recording an overall record of 40-2.

Maurice Kitchens (6-3, 225, LB, William Fleming H.S./Roanoke, Va.) Notes: Named team MVP after recording 150 tackles ... all-state selection by the Associated Press and coaches ... all-conference honoree ... named conference player-of-the-year ... Virginia Blue Ridge District Player-of-the-Year and Region 3 Player-of-the-Year ... has a 4.6 second 40 time.

Antonio Leath (5-7, 170, RB, Cummings H.S./Burlington, N.C.) Notes: Standout speedster that has been time with a 4.3 second 40-yard dash ... state champion in the 100-meter as a sophomore (10.76 E) ... state runner-up in the 100m as a junior (10.8) ... has recorded a regional 100m time of 10.4 seconds ... has a 4.3 40-yard dash time.

Doug Legursky (6-3, 308, OL, Woodrow Wilson H.S., Beckley, W.Va.) Notes: 2003 Hunt Award winner as best line lineman in West Virginia ... team captain and MVP ... three-year starter and the 2003 state weightlifting champion (set three state records) ... runs the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds.

Deondrea Lindsey (5-11, 180, RB, St. Petersburg Catholic H.S., St. Petersburg, Fla.) Notes: Rushed for 1,305 yards and 12 TDs on 158 attempts for an average carry of 8.2 yards as a senior ... also caught 16 passes for 605 yards and six touchdowns ... returned three kicks for touchdowns and earned first-team all-state, all-county, and all-suncoast honors ... participated in the Pinellas County All-Star Game.

Blake Merritt (6-4, 265, DE, Hargrave Academy/East Wake H.S., Wendell, N.C.) Notes: Hargrave's 2003 defensive line MVP ... all-state and all-conference selection at East Wake High ... recorded 122 tackles, 15 sacks, and 24 tackles for a loss as a senior.

Jon Moravec (6-0, 190, S/KR, Linganore H.S., Frederick, Md.) Notes: Has a 4.4 second 40-time ... helped Linganore to a 13-1 record and a 3A state championship ... first-team all-state, all-metro selection ... recorded 54 tackles and four interceptions ... caught 29 passes for 650 yards and 14 TDs, also returned four kicks for touchdowns and ran for three others ... scored 21 TDs as a senior.

Matt Parkhurst (6-3, 245, TE, St. Josephs Prep, Philadelphia, Pa.) Notes: Ranked as the 42nd best player in Pa. ... high school team finished undefeated and currently has a 35-game winning streak ... had offers from Kentucky, Toledo, and Wake Forest ... has a 4.7 second 40 time.

Mandell Smith (6-3, 190, WR, Holmes C.C. (Miss.), Northview H.S., Century, Fla.) Notes: Honorable mention MACJC ... stater on JC basketball team ... set school record for receptions and yards in his junior year at Northview High ... all-state and All-NW Florida ... offensive player of the year and North-South All-Star game selection ... took official visits to Florida and LSU out of high school ... went to Georgia Military prior to transferring to Holmes ... has been timed with a 4.4 40-yard dash.

Emanuel Spann (5-11, 170, WR, Westlake H.S., Atlanta, Ga.) Notes: Played quarterback, receiver and served as a kick returner at Westlake ... as a senior he caught 55 passes for 1,342 yards and scored 23 touchdowns ... first-team all-state selection.

Sam Walker (6-1, 185, FS/WR/KR, Englewood H.S., Jacksonville, Fla.) Notes: Caught 15 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns as a senior ... also recorded 89 tackles and three interceptions ... averaged 23.7 yards per return on kickoff an dpunt returns ... also punted 25 times for a 35.8 average with a long of 53 yards ... as a junior he rushed and passed for more than 1,000 yards and scored nine touchdowns.

Floyd Wright (6-0, 271, DE, Moorpark College (Ca.)/Hayfield H.S., Hayfield, Va.) Notes: Recorded 89 tackles, 37 for a loss, and 13 sacks last season ... only in his second year of football ... two-time high school all-american wrestler ... state champion wrestler in 2000-2001 ... finished fifth at nationals in 1999 and second in 2001 ... Clarion University, NCAA All-American Wrestler 2001.

The Herd Insider has also learned Ben Gum, a 5-11, 225 pound linebacker/running back from Parkersburg South High School and Marty Biagi, a punter/place kicker from Shelby County High School in Shelbyville, KY, who was mentored by former Herd/Shelby County kicker Curtis Head (of the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League), will join the Herd for fall drills as invited walk-ons. Marshall officials are not allowed to comment on non-signees.

Players who are already on campus and who got scholarships in January of 2004 include quarterback Tim Besselo, a transfer from Fresno State with four years eligibility; Zac Elcess, a center/guard transfer from Miami, Ohio, who sat out last fall and has three years eligibility; and Bernard Morris, who will be a red-shirt freshman quarterback with four years eligibility.

Herd Haven Top Stories