— By Bill Cornwell
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall University wrapped up its 2019 football recruiting class with a bang on Wednesday.
Coach Doc Holliday signed only four additional players to join the 16 who were signed in December, but two of the most recent signees come with big-time reputations.
The biggest name among the new recruits is former Arkansas commit Dante Walker, a 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive lineman from Riverdale, Ga.
Walker is a four-star recruit according to ESPN, and he also had offers from Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi State, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Walker played both defensive tackle and defensive end in high school.
Another highly-touted Herd recruit is 5-11, 215-pound running back Knowledge McDaniel from Bradenton, Fla., rated a three-star prospect by Rivals.
McDaniel brings some versatility to the Marshall offense, as he also played wide receiver in high school. He piled up offers from the likes of Georgia, Ohio State, Tennessee and South Carolina.
Marshall went for some immediate defensive help in junior college defensive linemen Esaias Carpenter and T.J. Johnson. Carpenter is a 6-3, 280-pound lineman from Butler Community College in Kansas who had 43 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss (2.5 sacks) at Butler. He played both the end and tackle positions.
Johnson is a 6-6, 240-pounder from Independence Community College in Michigan. He had a productive 2018 season with 44 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss, including three sacks, with two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in just seven games. Johnson, who started his career at Minnesota, is already enrolled at Marshall.
The Herd added several invited walk-ons to the roster, including two West Virginians in Huntington High running back Ty Wilcoxon and Wayne High linebacker Mike Bartram.
Overall, Marshall’s class is getting fairly high national marks, rated No. 1 in Conference USA by Rivals, which also put the Herd’s class at No. 4 among Group of Five schools, trailing only UCF, Memphis and Toledo.
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday says hard work by his staff, even while changes were being made in coaching personnel, paid off in a solid hault of talent.
“We are excited to add these young men to what we believe is an excellent class,” Holliday said. “Securing the right personnel is key to building your football program and we’ve done that today.”
Holliday also says there is room to add to the newcomers either with a late commit or transfer.