Of Conference USA, the Orlando Sentinel ranked the teams in this order, with comments from that newspaper:
1. Southern Miss-Antwain Easterling No. 1 recruit in all of Florida;
2. Central Florida-UCF upgraded speed and athleticism;
3. Marshall-Herd added much needed speed with this group;
4. East Carolina-Pirates follow up bowl with solid class;
5. Houston-Cougs load up on DBs, signing eight;
6. UTEP-Two of Miners best of class, WR Russell Carr and LB Brandon Thigpen, are from California;
7-12. SMU, Memphis, Tulsa, Rice, UAB and Tulane.
Scout.com rated the teams UCF, Houston, Southern Miss, Marshall, ECU, Memphis, SMU, UTEP, Rice, Tulsa, UAB and Tulane. Rivals.com had it Southern Miss, UCF, ECU, Marshall, UTEP, Houston, Memphis, Tulsa & SMU (tied for eighth), Rice, UAB and Tulane. In C-USA Tulsa, Rice, UAB and Tulane all have new head coaches since the end of the 2006 season. Memphis signed nine Juco's among its 23 new recruits. SMU signed 21 of 23 from the state of Texas, getting 10 of the top players in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the Dallas Morning News. Rice also signed 20 of 22 players from the Lone State State also. UAB signed 11 linemen, while 15 of 23 headed to Tulane are on the offensive side of the ball.
Breaking Down The Marshall Class:
Filling Needs-The Herd lost three offensive tackles and signed six offensive linemen in the class. Marshall also needed defensive line help, losing Shavar Greer and Juan Underwood from the starters and four others since spring of 2006 who played. The Herd also signed six defensive linemen.
Maybe Later For These Recruits:
Although Justin Footman signed with the Herd instead of Florida State, but it may be a moot point as he is most likely headed to Georgia Military Academy, where middle linebacker Josh Johnson came to the Herd from. Look for MU to try to get Footman to stick with the Herd in two years. Also, Brandon Bullock and Delvin Johnson, defensive linemen, have reportedly not qualified yet. George Carpenter is going to "gray" shirt this fall, not coming on scholarship until Jan. 2008, and Charles Wood will take his test again and still hopes to qualify for this upcoming season.
Herd Recruits Hiding In Plain Site:
While they do not count as "official" members of the 2007 recruiting class, there are a number of additional players who will come on board for next season. Starting this spring, walk-on punter Jake Field from Hurricane High School, via Hargrave, will join the Herd while walk-on long snapper Jeremy James of St. Albans High School will join the Herd in the fall. Also not counted, but on scholarship for the spring are four-star receiver recruit Darius Passmore and cornerback Aaron Johnson, both Juco's who sat out the fall to work on academics. Also joining Marshall for spring football next month are tight end transfer from and Tennessee recruit of 2006, Lee Smith - who was a four-star prospect last spring - and "gray" shirt safety D.J. Wingate. The Herd will also have wideout Travius Thompson and linebackers Antwan Booker and Mario Harvey in the fold and on scholarship after these players spent 2006-07 addressing academics as props.
Possible 2007 Impact Players:
1. Quarterbacks Chris Smith of South Point (Ohio) High School and Mark Cann of Landrum (S.C.) High School.
Smith was a four-star recruit who dropped to three once he committed to Marshall and Cann is a coach's son. They may be given the chance to win the starting job fo 2007, if returning quarterbacks Brian Anderson, Wesley Beardain and Nick Newell do not push in front of starter Bernard Morris in the spring. Morris also has to improve as much in '07 as he did in '06, and needs to do that this spring.
2. Running backs Darius Marshall of Baldwin H.S. in Milledgeville, Ga., and Terrell Edwards of UMS Wright Prep School in Mobile, Ala.
With MU junior tailbackAhmad Bradshaw jumping to the NFL, MU returns just one veteran back in Chubb Small and unproven sophomore Kelvin Turner in the backfield. The running back Marshall had 4,453 yards and 74 touchdowns in 2005-06 and was ranked No. 59 by Scout.com. Edwards was ranked No. 58 by Rivals.com and No. 77 by Scout.com among running backs and ran for 1,800 yards and 30 touchdowns. Both could see playing time as frosh. Edwards is 6-foot-2, 205-pounds while Marshall is 5-foot-10, 190-pounds.
3. Offensive linemen Branden Curry of Boyd Anderson H.S. in Hollywood, Fla. and Charles Wood of Gainesville, (Ga.) H.S.
Wood, 6-foot-5, 295-pounds and ranked No. 51 among the nation's tackles, and Curry, 6-foot-6, 292-pounds and ranked as the No. 74 tackle in the nation, might find their way into the rotation if someone does not step forward in the current group of young linemen who must replace Seth Cook, Wesley Jones and Chris Barnes at tackle for MU. Both were rated as three-star recruits by Scout.com. Wood was a top five lineman in Gainesville's football camp last summer, while Pittsburgh and South Carolina thought they were the only suitors for Curry, a late steal by Snyder and offensive line coach Mike Cummings.
4. Defensive backs Daquan Bembry of Hawkinsville (Ga.) H.S., T.J. Drakeford of Indepedence H.S. in Charlotte, N.C. and5-foot Corey Hart and Franchez Pitts of Loachapoka, (Ala.) H.S.
Adding these four to the arrival of Juco Aaron Johnson gives the Herd some much needed depth and additional speed in the defensive secondary, which lost only safety Curtis Keyes among starters. Hart is 6-foot-3, Pitts 6-foot-2, Drakeford is 5-foot-11 and Bembry, while just 5-foot-9, was rated the No. 43 cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com.
Marshall will start spring football on March 27th at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium. While most spring football practices will be closed to the public, with the exception of some Saturday scrimmages and the Green-White Football Game in April, coach Mark Snyder said when 6 a.m. conditioning workouts start next week the public is welcome to attend these drills.