Wood was among 16 high school prospects who visited with the Marshall football staff this past weekend, the next-to-last big numbers weekend of recruiting before signing day next month. Marshall brought in many defensive players over Jan. 13-14, including Hart -who committed yesterday - and getting a verbal from one defensive lineman from that visit plus two running backs last week. MU added other two verbals from the group that visited Jan. 20-21 including tackle Sergio Glenn and linebacker Vinny Curry, on Sunday. Last week, Marshall saw defensive tackle Johnny Jones and running back Darius Marshall join the Herd's other verbals for signing day on Feb. 7. Jones, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound defensive tackle from Clewiston High School (Fla.), verbally committed to the Thundering Herd last week after a visit over Jan. 13-14. He became the third prospect to commit to Marshall last week for the Herd, joining running backs Terrell Edwards from UMS-Wright Prep in Mobile, Alabama, and Darius Marshall of Baldwin H.S. in Georgia. "The people there were really nice," Jones said. "It wasn't all about football."
Jones, who plans to major in psychology, totaled 75 tackles, five sacks, three fumble recoveries and one interception last season. Playing in a small town northeast of high school powerhouse Belle Glade, Jones also was offered by Div. I-A Florida International and I-AA powers Western Kentucky and Georgia Southern.
Marshall is 5-foot-9, 183 pounds and put up monster numbers. He rushed for more than 2,300 yards and 28 touchdowns in just eight games, missing four with an ankle sprain. Rivals.com rates Marshall as the No. 59 running back in the nation and 49th-best overall in the state of Georgia. He was offered by Indiana, Maryland and Michigan State.
Edwards, a running back from Mobile, Ala., verbally committed last week also. He was the first running back commitment of the potential 2007 class. Edwards rushed for 1,800 yards and 30 touchdowns during his senior year at UMS-Wright Prep School. Scout.com rates him as the No. 77 running back prospect in the nation. "He had a great year," said Terry Curtis, Edwards' coach at UMS-Wright. "He's a 4.6 (40) guy. He is a really hard runner."
Corey Hart visited on Jan. 13-14 and turned down offers from BCS schools Iowa State and Vanderbilt, as well as schools in his home state of Alabama like Troy and MU C-USA rival UAB. Hart recorded 180 tackles last season, 15 tackles for loss, plus has a 3.1 grade point average at Loachapoka (Ala.) H.S., the same school as fellow future Herd safety Francez Pitts. They have been teammates since the eighth grade and friends for 15 years. Hart played in the Alabama Juniors North-South All-Star Football Game in Dec. of 2005. Marshall was the first school to offer Hart, a 6-foot, 200 pound safety who runs a 4.6 40-yard dash.
Just this past weekend, six offensive linemen were part of the 16 who visited. Giving the Herd a commitment were Vinny Curry and Sergio Glenn. Their bios, along with all of the other players who visited MU this weekend, are listed below in alphabetical order:
*George Carpenter: His father and high school coach at Lancaster, Rob, played for Miami, Ohio against the Herd and was actually ejected from the game during the Herd's upset of the No. 20 Redskins in 1976. Rob later played for the New York Giants, the Los Angeles Rams and Houston Oilers. George's older brother, Bobby - who played at Cincinnati - is currently a member of the Dallas Cowboys. He is listed as an athlete by Ohio scholastic website, jjhuddle.com, and is listed among the top 200 players in the state of Ohio.
*Branden Curry: At 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds, Curry is ranked as the nation's No. 74 offensive tackle prospect by Scout.com and is a three-star blocker from Boyd Anderson H.S. (Fla.). Pittsburgh and South Carolina are among schools pursuing Curry. First team All-State and did not allow a sack as a junior.
*Vinny Curry: Committed to the Herd Saturday, Jan. 20, the linebacker is from Harmony Prep in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is 6-foot-2, 223 pounds, he benches 300 lbs. and runs a 4.69 40-yard dash. His on-line Harmony bio said of Curry, "Very likable player with great upside. Is explosive in the open field or off the edge at the DE spot. Has all the tools. Full NCAA qualifier."
*T.J. Drakeford: A 6-foot-1, 185 pound cornerback from Independence (N.C.) H.S. The Patriots' seven straight state championships and 108-game win streak has drawn attention to the Mint Hill school and they beat Durham Riverside in this year's state championship.
*T.J. Franklin: Reportedly committed to the University of Cincinnati, according to Scout.com, following his Marshall visit. Another offensive lineman, from Knoxville (Tenn.) Catholic H.S. He is 6-foot-5, 245-pound and a tight end in high school but likely will bulk up to an interior lineman in college. Franklin has been timed at 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
*Quentin Gaddy: Another cornerback and receiver from the Tar Heel state, Gaddy played at Charlotte, N.C. at West Mecklenburg H.S. He is 6-foot-1, 175 pounds and was timed at 4.5 in the 40.
*Sergio Glenn: Committed to Marshall on Sunday, Jan. 21. An offensive lineman from West Forsyth High School in Winston-Salem, N.C. He more than held his own at the adidas combine held at N.C. State back in June. He is 6-6, 324 pounds and 5.24-second speed in the 40-yard dash and has talked with Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference and I-AA Gardner Webb, after drawing interest from Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and Virginia Tech during his junior year. "I'm very happy with my decision," Glenn told Anthony Hanshew of The (Huntington, W.Va.) Herald-Dispatch. "I'm where I should be (and I'll) show them what they missed out on (at the other schools)." Glenn has a 3.1 GPA and a 1490 SAT score.
*Chris Gray: A 6-foot-5, 260 pound two-star lineman from Landrum (S.C.) H.S. committed to Georgia Southern last week. However, after with the departure of the GSU head coach to the Atlanta Falcons and the offensive line coach taking the same job with Iowa State, Gray is again opening up his options after originally committing to North Carolina. "He and his mom will be making an official visit to Marshall University this weekend and may join Landrum teammate Mark Cann in Huntington," said Landrum head coach John Cann.
*Jamie and Hunter Hamrick: The sons of former MU kicker Ed Hamrick (1976-78), are both 6-foot-4, 220 pounds and played linebacker and wide receiver for coach Scott Tinsley at nearby Nitro H.S, where the Wildcats went 10-2 and advanced to the AAA quarterfinals. They played at Herbert Hoover in AA football before moving to Nitro for their senior seasons.
*Fred Jones: Recruited by Indiana, Kentucky and Cincinnati as well as Marshall, Jones is a 6-foot-4, 225 pound defensive end who is expected to add weight in college. He played at Sandy Creek (Ga.) H.S.
*Randy Kellman: A 6-foot-6, 250-pound defensive end from Celebration H.S. (Fla.) who originally was at The Hun School in New Jersey. He played tight end and defensive end and has gathered interest from Rutgers, Miami (Fla.), Michigan and other BCS schools.
*Otis Merrill: Ranked as the nation's No. 96 cornerback by Scout.com, Merrill is visiting from Glenville High School in Ohio. Marshall's coaching staff enjoys a long-term relationship with Glenville, with Bryant Milligan already a member of the Thundering Herd. The connection with Glenville is much longer for MU coach Mark Snyder and some members of his staff who came from Ohio State, going back to Ted Ginn, Jr. coming to play for the Buckeyes when Snyder was the linebacker coach and then defensive coordinator. Ted Ginn, Sr. is the head coach at Glenville and Cincinnati and Michigan State, with another former OSU assistant in Mark D'Antonio, are recruting Merrill among others.
*Logan O'Connor: The younger brother of former Marshall punter Ian O'Connor, also is visiting. The younger O'Connor broke Ian's record last season with a 56-yard field goal at Halls (Tenn.) H.S.
*Ryan Tillman: A 6-foot-4, 260 pound offensive lineman from Hargrave Academy, who played against the Herd sub-Varsity last fall when the Tigers won big at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Chubb Small and Cody Slate joined the Herd from Hargrave, along with this spring's walk-on punter Jake Field. Tillman has also talked to UVA and Va. Tech.
*C.J. Wood: The Gainesville H.S. (Ga.) offensive lineman is 6-foot-4, 275 pounds and is rated as the No. 51 offensive tackle in the country by Scout.com. Another three-star lineman, Wood timed out at the Gainsville Football Camp last summer at 5.0 in the 40-yard dash, 5.2 in the shuttle and had a vertical of 26 inches. He was named as one of the five best linemen in the camp.
The Thundering Herd now has secured 15 verbal commitments for the Class of 2007, plus already signing junior college defensive tackle Montel Glasco. On offense, quarterbacks Chris Smith (South Point H.S) and Mark Cann (Landrum H.S., S.C.); running back Darius Marshall (Baldwin H.S., Ga.) and Terrell Edwards (UMS-Wright Prep, Ala.); and offensive linemen Micah Carter (Woodrow Wilson H.S. in Beckley, W.Va.), Sergio Glenn (West Forsyth High School, N.C.), Charles Wood (Gainesville High School, Fla.) and John Bruhin (Powell H.S., Tenn.), brother of current Herd lineman Zane Bruhin. On defense, there are tackles Shane Moore (Northeast Guilford H.S., N.C.) and Johnny Jones (Clewiston H,S., Fla.); linebacker Vinny Curry (Harmony Prep, Oh.) and Kellen Harris (Sharon H.S., Pa.) and defensive backs Justin Footman (Lincoln H.S., Fla.) and Franchez Pitts and Corey Hart (both of Loachapoka H.S., Ala.).
They are not part of this recruiting class, but Marshall added four other players to scholarships besides Glasco for January of 2007. WR Darius Passmore and DB Aaron Johnson were recruited for the class of 2006, but concentrated on academics before enrolling this semester. Also now on a full ride is tight end Lee Smith, who transferred to the Herd from Tennessee, as well as D.J. Wingate of Mainland (Fla.) HS. Wingate was a "gray-shirt" who sat out in the fall and was second-team All-Volusia County in 2005. Punter Jake Fields of Hurricane, via Hargrave, is also walking on for the spring semester and will practice with the Herd, starting on March 27.
Marshall will have another group of recruits in this weekend, as the Herd has its annual banquet this Saturday, Jan. 27, at Pullman Square Hotel (the former Radisson) at Third Avenue and Tenth Street in downtown Huntington. Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased at the Marshall football office. Call 304-696-6464 for information.