When there is an open quarterback competition the fan favorite for the job is often the new guy in town. All they can see is potential, there are no past transgressions that come to mind and any mistakes can be chalked up to being a freshman.
Such was the case the first time incoming freshman Rakeem Cato stepped on the field for Thundering Herd practice. Immediately the fan chatter began that Cato should be the starter when Marshall suits up against WVU on September 4th. That’s not unusual, but what is a bit out of the ordinary, Cato is making a strong case to be in the mix.
“When I came in the gate it [the starting quarterback job] was open and I’m just working hard to compete for a starting job,” says Cato.
Cato came to Huntington from Miami, FL where he shattered just about every high school passing record in Dade County. One advantage Cato had when he arrived on campus was he was already familiar with the spread offense from his days at Miami Central High School.
“He’s done some things that have been pretty impressive. He doesn’t get rattled and makes good decision,” says Head Coach Doc Holliday
It’s not just his skills as a quarterback that have caught the attention of the coaching staff so far. Cato, even though he’s only a freshman, is already displaying the leadership Doc Holliday is looking for in a signal caller.
“Not only does he take it personally when he makes a mistake, he takes it personally other people make mistakes and that’s what good leaders do,” remarked Holliday.
Cato has made his share of mistakes and seeing defenders like Vinny Curry rushing off the end have contributed to them. However, Cato has not let the speed of the college game rattle him.
“He made some mistakes when we started bringing pressure, but he saw it once or twice and adjusted,” observed Holliday.
Of course its still only practice, but Cato has certainly propelled himself as a legitimate contender for the starting quarterback job.