HUNTINGTON - When a green-jerseyed No. 37 took the field in the middle of Marshall's afternoon split-squad practice Thursday, the Thundering Herd's cornerback position got a little more crowded.
The newcomer was Derrick Thomas, one of two Penn State players widely reported to be heading to Huntington. The other is wide receiver Devon Smith, who reportedly is undergoing the process of admission to MU.
MU athletic officials cannot discuss Smith's status, but coach Doc Holliday was free to discuss Thomas and his path to Huntington.
"Him and his family contacted us, he had interest in playing for us," Holliday said. "So we went through the proper procedures, and he's here, I'm glad he's here."
Thomas, listed on Penn State's 2011 roster as 6 feet, 181 pounds, is eligible immediately after the NCAA hit the Nittany Lions with a four-year postseason ban. The native of Greenbelt, Md., has two years remaining.
Under rules for acclimation to preseason camp, Thomas cannot practice in full pads until Monday. He can wear only shoulder pads Saturday, ruling him out of full participation in the scrimmage that day.
Last season, he played nine games and was in on four tackles. As a redshirt freshman in 2010, he played the first four games, recording three tackles, two pass breakups and an interception against Penn State.
Smith, a 5-7, 155 senior, would have one season of eligibility, but does have a redshirt year if desired. He was the Nittany Lions' third-leading receiver in 2011, with 25 catches for 402 yards and two touchdowns.
A standing NCAA waiver allows schools to add PSU transfers above their initial scholarship limit of 25, but they must reduce their 2013 limit by the same number. That won't hurt MU in the least - with only eight seniors, the Herd won't sign anything close to a full class.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.