CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In a sports season in which Marshall fans have been buffeted by a 5-7 football season and gut-punched by a 9-12 basketball season, football's national signing day offers a ray of hope.
To see the recruiting websites tell it, the Thundering Herd is leading the way in the newly realigned Conference USA, and even outworking those C-USA schools defecting to the Big East.
JuJuan Seider, MU's recruiting coordinator, probably doesn't put much stock into the "standings," typically a compilation of commitments according to their "star" rating. And even if he did, he has been too busy zigzagging across the state of Florida for a last-minute find.
The recruiting season enters its last weekend before the coaches wait for the fax machine to hum at 7 a.m. Wednesday. That kicks off a day recruitniks place above Sunday's Super Bowl, birthdays and wedding anniversaries, sometimes even above game-day Saturdays.
Seider is back home after untold days on the road, helping welcome a handful of prospects to town this weekend. One notable visitor, 247 Sports says, is Michael Johnson, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound cornerback from Miami's Booker T. Washington High. He has been listed as a Florida State commitment for nearly a year, but anything goes in the final week.
A late snatch would be a bonus. Seider said the toughest part is to keep your current commitments on board.
"Other guys try to jump in, so you've got to deal with that," he said. "In four years here, I've only lost one [receiver Mark Barr Jr. switched to Cincinnati last week]. ... We've done pretty well with that."
Currently, up to 18 recruits are reportedly committed to MU, including midyear junior-college signees Arnold Blackmon, a defensive end, and safety Taj Letman. The consensus prize catch is wide receiver Angelo Jean-Louis, a former Miami signee who will come to MU from Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.