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Huff excited for opportunity awaiting Marshall players in NFL

— By Bill Cornwell

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — For many college football players, achieving goals of championships on a national or conference level and proving themselves against quality competition are at or near the top of a wish list.

For many others, a primary goal is extending their love of football into a pro career, be it in the National Football League or elsewhere.

Marshall’s fourth-year head coach Charles Huff believes the results of last weekend’s NFL Draft show the Herd program is doing a good job of preparing football players for the next level.

“I will always cherish these guys and what they meant to this program and this university,” Huff said. “I can’t wait to watch all these guys chase their dreams at the highest level. They stayed committed to us, trusted us in their development and created value for themselves and their families.”

Running back Rasheen Ali and defensive back Micah Abraham were selected Saturday on the third and final day of the draft. Ali was a fifth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens while Abraham was taken in the sixth round by the Indianapolis Colts.

Sep 10, 2022; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Marshall Thundering Herd defensive back Micah Abraham (6) celebrates as he leaves the field after the Thundering Herd beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 26-21 at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

At the conclusion of the draft, four Marshall players signed free agent deals with NFL teams — veteran linebacker Eli Neal signed with the Los Angeles Rams, while defensive end Owen Porter inked a deal with the Minnesota Vikings. Two Marshall offensive lineman also signed with NFL teams — Ethan Driskell with the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Dalton Tucker with the Indianapolis Colts.

“I’m really excited for all our guys who get to continue their football journeys,” Huff said. “All these guys are special to me and to this community. What they have been through in their college journey — from coaching changes to COVID-19 to conference changes, NIL, the transfer portal and more — and to be in this position has been nothing short of amazing.

The attention from NFL organizations is gratifying, knowing the grind of operating a Division I football program.

Marshall and Troy were the only Sun Belt Conference teams with multiple players picked in the draft.

In all, six Sun Belt players were selected this year. In addition to Ali and Abraham, defensive lineman Javon Solomon and running back Kimani Vidal from Troy were taken, along with Georgia State offensive tackle Travis Glover and Louisiana offensive tackle Nathan Thomas.

Solomon was a fifth-round selection of the Buffalo Bills and came off the board three picks after Ali. Vidal went in the sixth round to Los Angeles Chargers, while Glover was a sixth-round selection of the Green Bay Packers. 

Thomas went to the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round.

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