COLUMN

HUNTINGTON, W.Va.– There are obvious signs that Marshall’s football program has come leaps and bounds from where it was when Doc Holliday took the reigns of the fledgling football team in 2010. When Holliday first arrived, the only mention Marshall got on ESPN.com was the weekly Bottom 10 list.

Now, The Herd is in the discussion to run the table, win Conference USA, contend for a major bowl game, and send its quarterback to New York as a Heisman Trophy candidate. That’s all the results of a program on the rise. However, there is another not-so-obvious sign Holliday is building a sustainable success.

That sign is on the recruiting trail.

So far, more than a dozen prospects for the signing class of 2015 have given verbal commitments to The Herd. The verbal commitments include 6-foot-4 receiver Larry Dunnon of Greenacres, Florida. Rivals rates Dunnon as a three-star prospect. Marshall has also landed local standout Alex Locklear from Spring Valley High School. The bruising lineman is already 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds.

“I think it is a tribute to our coaching staff. It’s a tribute to our weight program, that we’re recruiting the kind of kids who want to be great,” commented Holliday.

Holliday has always been known as a great recruiter but what has made him successful is not necessarily landing the top prospects as rated by services like Rivals or Scout.com but finding players who can be developed into major contributors.

“Those stars don’t matter a whole lot to me. It’s how big their heart is, how much they love ball, are they willing to the work in to be great? (Chris) Jasperse is going to walk out of here as good an offensive linemen that’s ever played here. (Clint) Van Horn has become a tremendous player. Look at Swede (Sebastian Johansson) and the way he’s developed. Two years ago I didn’t think he could play anything.”

Even now-Heisman hopeful quarterback Rakeem Cato was not highly recruited out of high school. He had verbally committed to FIU before changing his mind and deciding to join lifelong friend Tommy Shuler at Marshall. Holliday and his staff have taken prospects that others overlooked or even gave up on and developed them into solid football players.

“We’re recruiting guys who love football and care because they’ve worked their tail off to get to where they are. Scott Sinclair and his strength staff have done a tremendous job of developing players. We not only get those kids we continue to develop them.”

There’s no reason to believe that won’t continue. Holliday actually has the luxury of redshirting young players now and giving them time to develop. If Rakeem Cato or Tommy Shuler arrived on campus in 2014, they probably wouldn’t be thrown into the fire as true freshman. They’d be redshirted and given time to learn and mature.

Marshall can now restock the roster through recruiting rather than overhaul it. It’s just another sign the program is going in the right direction.

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Comments

  • Junius

    I saw where Nike added black and white Coaches Wear, replacing all orange, for WVU coaches.

  • Rebel at heart

    To automatically assume any team is better or worse than another because of a conference affiliation is absurd. The only way to tell is to play a game. WVU has won every game between them and Marshall but they have played less than 15 times over the 100 years. To assume WVU wins every time is also crazy, MU could have possibly beaten us last year, don't believe me I offer this reminder. WVU 0 - Maryland 37; Marshall 31 - Maryland 20. Any given day an underdog can and will win. Applachin State will beat a Michigan at the big house they just have to play the right day. For Goodness sakes we lost to KANSAS IN FOOTBALL last year, that shouldn't happen either but the game was played. I would much rather see a WVU - Marshall game every year (don't care where it's played either) than a WVU - Townsend state game or a MU - Rhode Island game. I like to prove our seniority on the field.

    • steve

      No assumption-WVU has won every time-12-0-just the facts!

      • WVU < Kansas FB

        What does that say about this year? It says absolutely nothing. However, if it makes you feel better to repeat it because you cant compete within your conference feel free. Bottom line is that WVU just wasnt very good last year and this year, according to your AD, the record wont look much better. Meanwhile, MU has one of the better teams in its history.

        • Jabo

          Playing one of the weakest schedules in history. That's why you think Marsha is gonna be so good this year.

          • MUguy

            Jabo= beating dead horse when it comes to our schedule.

  • Greg

    Good article. Thanks and Go HERD!

  • MUguy

    As a longtime Herd fan this is what holds MU back. I give WVU fans a hard time for posting on Marshall centric articles. However, I see just as many Herd fans try to poke the bear by bringing them into the conversation when they have nothing to do with our program. What is the point? As proud as I am for how the Herd is doing lately, it looks pathetic that the best we can say is you guys were beaten 37-0 by a Maryland team. Let's face the facts we beat a decent Maryland team that were ravaged by injuries throughout the year. WVU played their worst game and Maryland was very different from the beginning to the end of the year. What are we trying to gain from bringing them into the convo. We have one good season in 11 years. Why do we need WVU and everyone else to validate how good we feel our program is? If we win we will get noticed plain and simple. We look like the jealous ex girlfriend who has self esteem issues when the boyfriend moves on to another girl. The facts are the facts, head on they have beaten us 12-0. We had are chance to beat them on the field and did not. Enjoy our success for what it is. Trying brag to gain validation that never will come is pointless. End of rant.

    • eerdiot patrol

      Really tired of your spying and acting like an MU guy. You arent fooling anyone.

      • MUguy

        So eerdiot, i graduated from MU in 06. Have been a fan most of my life. I am calling it like I see it. I care more about a conference championship than MU beating WVU. We will get more recognition by consistently winning conference. No one outside of the state of WV cares about the rivalry. I know because I have been living in TX for the past 5 years. When someone says you went to MU they think of the plane crash, Randy Moss, and sometimes Chad Pennington. Thats it. You can call me a hidden WVU fan all you want. I think its pathetic thst the best arguement we have to compare to them is we beat Maryland last year. Im sure you just like trolling and claiming your a huge MU fan because MU may be good this year. Where was this diehard support in the Snyder years? We have one good season in 11 years and we act like MU suddenly can compete with everyone. Give me a break.

  • Boomer

    I'm an Oklahoma & Marshall fan. Obviously, the Big 12 is a much better conference than CUSA, but Marshall is waaaaaay better than a bottom-dwelling Big 12 team like WVU. Better on both sides, deeper, and many more pro prospects. It's not even close. Not even debatable by reasonable people.

    • hailey

      Boomer, I like what marshall is doing but you are so far off in so many ways it is laughable. WVU would go undefeated with MU's schedule, this bottom feeding team you call WVU somehow has managed to beat OSU, Baylor, Texas, TCU and scare the crap out of OU the last 2 years. At their worst they have been better than MU at thier best, when was last time MU beat a team from a big 5 conference? Just beat MTSU this year and get back with us.

      • MUguy

        Hailey, I can tell by your posting your a very avid WVU fan. However, you may want to check your facts before posting about Marshall. The last time we beat a power 5 conference team was in our last game played against Maryland. Along with that if your going to include near wins against the likes of OU as an arguement. MU has had near victories against Ohio State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Kansas St, WVU twice, Georgia, and Michigan St. Now, in my book a near victory means absolutely nothing. Please understand that in most years WVU teams would beat Marshall and have. However at MU's best which to date was 99. That WVU team went 3-8. It was a rebuilding year for you guys. Its rather presumptious to assume that WVU would always beat any MU team at anytime. As far as going undefeated with our schedule. Do you realize how few great teams go undefeated in a year? We will be very lucky to go undefeated this year with a senior lead team. Your last undefeated team was in 93 for the regular season. If you look back that WVU team was very good and had luck on their side. Please study up more before posting. Your arguement sounds ignorant and uninformed.

        • Jabo

          Near = moral victories....congrats

          • MUguy

            Jabo, if you actually read what I said. Near victories mean absolutely nothing. So Congrats you are proving my point.

      • Herd98

        hailey your joking right? WVU wouldnt go undefeated in the MAC this year. Your ego is overpowering your grip on reality. It is OK to say WVU sucks right now because they do. They just dont have "it" right now. It happens. Your lack of respect for certain MU teams at their peak is ridiculous. The 1999 undefeated team would have been a chore for any team in the country that season. And it is ok to admit that MU is just simply better this year. You say WVU would go undefeated with MU's schedule and I say that MU would do better than the eers's schedule than the eer's will.

        • Herd is D2

          Herd 98 WVU might not to undefeated in the MAC but they would in CUSA lol

          • JV football in Huntington

            You're right they wouldn't.. But.. 0-12 Boss.. 0-12

          • WVU < Kansas FB

            WVU struggled with Bill and Mary last year, really? They wouldnt even sniff undefeated last year or this one.

      • Interesting123

        They beat a team an ACC now Big10 team in the last game they played. You might want to research before you post stupid questions like that.

        • JV football in Huntington

          They beat a mid range ACC team.. Sadly that's in Marshall's top 5 accomplishments ever. #JVproblems

          • WVIAN

            Marshall beat the Big 12 champ K-State on their own field in 2003 with our back up quarterback.

          • eerdiot patrol

            Kansas beat you and iSU.....twice
            #outofyourleague #neverbowlingagain #bottomfeeder #irrelevantandjealous #4-8forlife

          • WVU < Kansas FB

            Yet that mid range ACC team smoked WVU. What does that tell you? #Big12DoormatProblems

    • Marshall is a joke

      Funny how someone claims to be a big 12 team fan and a Marshall fan- because that happens never. Just so they can try to hate on wvu. The fact is Marshall would rather go 1-10 and beat wvu than go 10-1 and lose to them. Go back to JV league where you always are son...

      • WVU < Kansas FB

        How is it impossible for them to be an Oklahoma fan? I am a Marshall and Auburn fan because I have degrees from both places. I get sick of WVU fans thinking they are something big. News flash...WVU is nothing in the grand scheme of college football. MU is doing fine for what they are. They arent Alabama and thats ok, but WVU isnt close to being elite either.

        • Herd98

          I know someone who went to MU and Auburn, I wonder if you are that person who now lives in Georgia? If so spot on J.C.

          • WVU < Kansas FB

            D2, you are the one who is commenting on a MU article. If you are so indifferent to everything MU why are you here? Furthermore, why do WVU fans comment on every Marshall article? You live in the past. Bottom line is WVU wasnt very good last year and wont be this year. Meanwhile, the NATIONAL media are picking the Herd to have a good season. Enjoy your upcoming 4-5 win season.

          • Herd is D2

            The point is geniuses that Marshall can't do anything without it somehow relating to WVU. Marshall has NEVER done anything on the national level. WVU has three BCS wins since 2006. Id say that qualifies for something.. Go back to your dirt hole of a city and stop trying to scale yourselves based on what WVU does.. News flash 0-11 against them.. #JVproblems

    • WVUGrad

      Did you even attend either school or are you just trying to be a total clown for sake of being a clown?

      • Interesting123

        Does anyone else see the irony in WVUGrad's post?

        • WVUGrad

          FYI. I attended WVU and MU. Bet you didn't finish high school!

          • Interesting123

            That would be a bet you would lose.

  • Mister Man

    The article was well done. I agree. Marshall is moving forward. Good luck.

  • Herd98

    CUSA is awful but the fact that its a known fact and MU is getting this much attention says a lot. MU is playing and has players above the level of the conference. This MU team could compete in most conferences and even be mid level in the SEC, or Big 10. I would bet that this MU team could win more games in the Big 12 than WVU. Ouch I bet that hurts to hear.

    • Matt

      Ok, Herd98, I'll bite. While Marshall has a solid team this year, who are they beating in the SEC? In the East, Marshall would be lucky to win 2 games, in the West, they may be able to beat Arkansas. It appears we have different opinions on what mid level in a conference is.

      • eerdiot patrol

        Mississippi state
        Ole miss
        Kentucky
        Vanderbilt
        Mizzou
        Arkansas
        Florida
        Tennessee
        ^
        All teams Marshall could and perhaps should beat in the SEC this season. And many othrs would be competitive.

        Will WVU beat Kansas this season to wrap up that 4-8 finish???? Time will tell

        • MUguy

          Eerdiot, Are you actually an MU fan? You act like Marshall is Alabama. I would be real careful about saying who MU can beat in the SEC. I think we have a good team. However, I think we are an average SEC team at best this year. I dont like the WVU trash talking either. However, to sit here and say they wilk be 4-8 forever is ridiculous. We could have said the same thing about MU in 07-08. I guess if your trying to trash talk and get a reaction that is working but you sound like a 14 year old kid with your arguement. How long have you been following college football?

      • Herd is D2

        The fact that this guy thinks Marshall would beat those SEC schools is why no one considers any of their fans credible. Marshall is looking at winning one of the worst conferences in the country and not playing a top 30 team all year- somehow that make them good... #JVproblems

      • Herd98

        I would think that MU could win 3 or 4 games in the SEC. Missourri, Arkansas, Vanderbilt, Kentucky, And Georgia always falls short as does Ole Miss. Heck even Florida is now beatable. MU's only challenge is depth, it would wear them down a full season in a conference like the SEC. The Big 12 is weak again this year. Oklahoma is the clear favorite with Baylor a close second. Beyond that it varies from the middle of the pack and the bottom dwellers.

    • steve

      They would not win a game in the Big 12

      • Jason

        You referring to WVU this year?

    • william

      If that last comment came from anybody with an ounce of credibility it might.

    • Rob T.

      Depth my friend! It's WVU's biggest bug a boo! First 22 are fine but can you rotate and not skip a beat? The good ones can, WVU and MU can not..... Yet that is.

      • WVU < Kansas FB

        According to the head coach at WVU depth is good this year. So if the results are the same as last year I guess we know they just arent very good and that excuse is out the window.

      • Mister Man

        Follow football much?

        • Greg

          The fact that a Moo fan would even mention WVU in a Moo article pretty sums up what the pecking order is doesn't it?

          • eerdiot patrol

            Maybe you are asleep or just dumb, or a liberal.... but MU fans have to constantly fight off the WVU posters on their articles.

            Funny thing is? Know how many WVU articles I have ever read and ever commented on? 0.... because thats what WVU is to me. A bottom feeding big 12 cellae dweller that will never even be a bowl team again.... I put wvu on the same level as Idaho or maybe Eastern Michigan

          • Jason

            WVU dropped the ball not hiring Doc...Dana has a good record as a OC and moving up to HC is a natural progression...but it is becoming evident (We will see how this season goes) that he is just in over his head. With WVU's recruiting budget...Doc would have WVU competing in the Big XII. I am however glad Doc is at MU and the article is right, the coaches and players are moving the program in the right direction with the things they can control. go herd!

          • WVUGrad

            Exactly. Get over the WVU obsession. If WVU didn't have the depth, MU wouldn't stand a chance. That isn't saying MU is a bad team, it's just stating a fact. They don't have the players and haven't recruited to play in a power 5 conference. Doc has made great strides with Marshall and recruiting, but any reasonable person know fact from fiction.

  • ron 51

    C-USA what a joke hate it for K he's the real deal