Marshall notebook: Miami transfer among 4 added to Herd program
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Four players formally joined the Marshall football program today, including a transfer from Miami (Fla.), but it could turn out that none will play.
The transfer from Miami is Ricardo Williams, a 6-foot-5, 251-pound redshirt sophomore from Homestead, Fla. Williams played one game for the Hurricanes last fall, and will sit out as a transfer.
He had dozens of sacks for Homestead High, and was ranked the No. 102 defensive end by ESPNU.
"Ricardo is a technician with a great frame," Homestead coach Bobby McCray said in December 2010. "Normally, taller guys have a problem playing with leverage but not Ricardo. I have been coaching a long time and he's the best I have ever had."
Three other prospects began practice Monday, though they may eventually be declared nonqualifiers: wide receiver Rodney Allen of Dallas, defensive lineman Jalen Stevenson from Lakeland, Fla., and linebacker Raheim Huskey of Gaffney, S.C.
Stevenson, who had an offer from Indiana but signed with a Florida junior college, hails from the alma mater of Herd cornerback Darryl Roberts and running back Steward Butler, Lakeland High. He had 25 sacks as a junior.
"To come from a great program like that and have those kinds of numbers, he's a tremendous football player. I'm glad he's here," said MU coach Doc Holliday.
From the February list of signees, six have been declared nonqualifiers, but are expected to enroll at MU: running backs Brandon Byrd and Tony Pittman, wide receivers Angelo Jean-Louis and Deontay McManus and defensive back Shykeem Pitts and De'Andre "Chocolate" Wilson.
The newest growing ritual in college football, especially in the Herd camp? The incredible shrinking jersey numbers.
Eight different players, all starters or those with potential to be, have switched to numbers below 20. The list:
So was this a rash of sentimental attachment, players jumping to claim their high school or midget league numbers? Not always, it seems.
"Just changed, something a little different," said Taliaferro, a senior who had worn only 42 for his MU career. "Nothing much to it. High school I had 8, I guess two times eight is 16."
Roberts did have an underlying reason.
"I just felt it was a time for a new start and everything," he said. "Since one of my good pals, Travon Van, he went to another school [Montana], I told him I'd represent his number for him. No. 7, it's like a really trendy, popular number because of Byron Leftwich and those guys who did a lot of good things for this team."
Holliday gets a chuckle out of all that. This didn't happen way back when he played.
"Back then we weren't worried about numbers. You were just happy to get a number," he said. "Hell, I wasn't very good - I was happy to get a number, it didn't matter what number it was. I got whatever was left.
"Kids are funny these days. A lot of them do it for different reasons. As long as they play hard and live right, I give them what they want. If they don't live right or play hard, we give them what we give them. Or they don't get one."
Several walk-ons took the field for the first time, including quarterback Spencer Iacovone, who came to Marshall on a baseball scholarship.
Iacovone, listed at 6-2, 215, is an infielder/outfielder who starred last season at Cincinnati's Moeller High. He also was the starting quarterback last fall for the football team - and the Crusaders won state titles in both sports.
Other walk-ons are quarterback Adam Weeks from Shady Spring, offensive lineman Josh Baisden from Cabell Midland, safety Mark Shaver from Huntington and two kickers, Nicholas Smith from Plain City, Ohio, and Amoreto Curaj from Tampa, Fla.
Another Cabell Midland grad, wide receiver Cody Carter, transferred from the University of Charleston and will have to sit out a season.
Receiver Tommy Shuler was perhaps the only player to take it easy during the first day. All others were healthy and full go.
There was one injury during the morning workout, to the arm of receiver Jack Gammon. Holliday expects him out two to three weeks.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5140, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.