Senior center Doug Legursky, junior defensive end Albert McClellan, senior quarterback Bernard Morris and senior tight end Brian Shope were elected by their teammates as captains for the 2007 season. For Morris and Legursky, they join a select group of Marshall players to be named captain in back-to-back years. Only 21 players have been captain at Marshall for two seasons or more. McClellan, a junior and out for the season, may have been the most surprised of the group.
Albert McClellan, No. 96, was named captain of the Herd for 2007 despite an injury that will force him to miss the entire season.
"It was a big deal and I appreciate the guys that voted for me," said McClellan after practice. "I didn't think I would be voted in, being out for the season and I'm a young (guy)." McClellan may now has a chance to join Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich and Darius Watts as the Herd's only three-time captains when he comes back next season for 2008 and 2009. His surgery is still up in the air, as far as when it will take place. "No, I don't when I'm having surgery, but I've got a rehab that's going good and I've got a little bend in my knee. Waiting is the worse part."
Legursky, also on the mend for the last week, is scheduled to return end of the week or first of next week to get ready for the opener at Miami Sept. 1. He was honored to be a two-time captain. "We really appreciate the respect we get from our teammates," said the 6-foot-3, 320-pound center from Beckley, W.Va. "We go out there and try to lead this team every day. Bernie is a hard worker every day, and so is Shopey. We do the best we can to take control of the huddle and out their on the field, and off the field, and they have our respect and we hope they respect us. When we are beside them, on the line, we'll get the job done." Legursky was not surprised the injured McClellan was elected captain by his teammates. "He's hurt, but that doesn't mean Albert isn't one of our leaders. We knew that, as soon as he got hurt, he would still be one of the leaders of this team. He worked hard all summer and just because he's injured, doesn't mean he can't be a leader. He can say, look at me and play hard every play, because it might be your last one. He'll be just a good a leader on the sideline as on the field."
Legursky feels his rehab is right on schedule, but the Herd has reaped some benefits from he, Doug Ziegler, Josh Evans and Matt Altobello being out. "It was just a mild sprain, but I'll be back soon. I've been working pretty hard. We have had a few guys bumped and bruised this camp but to get all those young guys in there, to get all those reps at all those different positions, it will pay off for us in the long run. We get into the season and somebody get hurt or goes down, knock on wood, we will have people with experience to step in."
Marshall QB Bernard Morris, leaping over a Hofstra defender in last year's home opener, joins Doug Legursky as Marshall's 20th and 21st two-time captains.
Morris echoed his center about being voted in again. "I'm honored to have the accolade of being choosen by my team twice," said the senior from Orlando, Fla. "They look up to us as leaders and its up to me and these other three guys to lead them to that bowl game the senior class has promised. There were a lot of names on the ballot and many guys who could just as easily be standing in my spot now. I'm am honored. It's not always about what's in the stat book (on picking captains). It's how a person plays on Saturday. Doug has all the tools, he's been that guy for us since he stepped on campus. Albert, unfortunately he went down this year, but this just shows how much our team looks up to him even though he is out. All the work that Shope has put in his whole career, he said it had finally paid off. He has stepped up a lot as a leader."
Shope, a senior from Portage, Pa., has played in 32 games for the Herd and started 12. He has 12 catches for 150, but no touchdowns coming into his senior year. Yet, along with Legursky and John Inman, he is regarded as one of the Herd's best blockers. Snyder pointed out he thought Shope was the MVP of the August camp thus far, and obviously his teammates think the same way and that's what Shope treasures. "That's what this is all about," said Shope. "To be able to stand up here with the rest of these guys, because of their stats, the national awards they are up for, just to be considered a captain with these men is a really big honor. I do my work undercover, but it is just as important as anyone on the field. Just as long as my fellow teammates respect me enough for this honor, I don't care what might be said about me outside the locker room."
Shope, from a small town, is very honored to be in a select group of Marshall players over 110 seasons. "It really is. It's a great honor for a player from a small town in Western Pennsylvania where a lot of players haven't got many chances to play college football. Me, I had only one Division I offer. I worked myself up through the ranks and I am very honored that my teammates have given me the honor of being a leader on the team.
Chubb Small, shown at the spring game, was back with the first team today and splitting reps with freshman Darius Marshall.. photo by Greg Perry/HI staff
The team was in shoulder pads and shorts today and worked on fundamentals in team. During team, true freshman quarterback Mark Cann had a good day with the twos, hitting his first four passes in a row and five-of-six on the day. Wesley Beardain had two touchdowns in red-zone pass skel, while Morris and Brian Anderson each had one in ten total plays. Anderson had the big strike of the day when he found Shawn Lauzon on a short pass that the senior receiver turned into a 50-yard touchdown by out-running the secondary to the end zone. Morris and Anderson again split reps with the first team, as did freshman back Darius Marshall and junior Chubb Small. "He's back with the ones a little bit," said Snyder. Small is being pushed by the youngster, a fact Snyder likes. "That's what you hope for. We've talked about time after time competition makes all of us better, and we hope this competition makes Chubb better." Marshall worked on the two-point conversion at the end of practice, but Snyder shrugged off a 1-for-6 by the offense against the defense. "We got double work there, but I hope those aren't our two-point plays," said Snyder. "It was more for the defense. We call it two-point period, but we get two things done. We get some red-zone and we get to talk to the defense about some teams being very predictable when they are on the hash and so on. We want to run on the defense because they expect a pass. We plan all that. It gives us a chance to talk about (it in film review)."
NOTES:Marshall's all-time two-time captains, starting with the first captain for a Marshall football team, quarterback/defensive back Roy Grass in 1903-04; quarterback/defensive back/kicker Frank "Red" Crist, 1920 and 1925 (the only player not a two-time captain in consecutive years); two-way tackle Ralph Young, 1927-28; quarterback/running back/defensive back/kicker/punter Tom Stark, 1929-30; guard Jesse Smith, 1974-75 (elected, then sat out, in 1974 due to health issues. Granted fifth-year by NCAA in 1975); cornerback Derek Grier, 1990-91; running back Chris Parker, 1994-95; defensive tackle Billy Lyon and receiver/return man Tim Martin, 1995-96; quarterback Chad Pennington, 1997-98-99; safety Rogers Beckett, running back Doug Chapman, linebacker Andre O'Neal and center Jason Starkey, 1998-99; quarterback Byron Leftwich, 2000-01-02; tackle Steve Sciullo, 2001-02; receiver Darius Watts, 2001-02-03; quarterback Stan Hill and cornerback Roberto Terrell, 2003-04; center Doug Legursky and quarterback Bernard Morris, 2006-07. Running back John Zontini is listed as a two-time captain in the 2007 media guide, but was finished in 1934. The 1935 captain was two-way guard Elda Carney. In 1935, Zontini graduated and was playing baseball in the Boston Red Sox organization.