February 6, 2013
Marshall Signing Day capsules
Kevin Anderson, QB, 6-2, 204, Boca Raton (Fla.) HS: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Chose the Herd over FCS members Illinois State and Jacksonville (Ala.) State ... Completed 40 of 81 passes for 509 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions in 2012 before suffering a season-ending injury (broken collarbone) on Sept. 28 ... Former Marshall QB Eric Kresser (1996 Division I-AA title and 15-0 record) has been Anderson's private quarterback coach since the player was an eighth grader. Jeremiah Benjamin, LB, 6-2, 215, McArthur HS, Hollywood, Fla.: Chose Marshall over FIU, Wake Forest and West Virginia ... Also had scholarship offers from Cincinnati, Duke, FAU, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas State, Kentucky, Memphis, Minnesota, Navy, NC State, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, SMU, Tennessee State, Texas A&M and Tulane ... A three-sport star at McArthur, also plays basketball and runs track ... He averaged 15 points as a shooting guard last season as a junior, and in track he runs the 100 and 200 meters and is on the 400 relay team.Arnold Blackmon, DL, 6-2, 245, Navarro Junior College, Bellaire, Texas: Chose Herd over hometown Houston, Kansas State and New Mexico ... Had 44 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery in 10 games for Navarro (10-2) ... Originally a Class of 2011 prospect who received recruiting interest from Houston as a senior at Bellaire High.Josh Brown, DL, 6-5, 300, South Aiken (S.C.) HS: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Originally signed with Clemson ... Also had offers from Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Miami (Ohio), NC State, Presbyterian and South Carolina ... Had 90 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 10 games during his senior year, which was his first full season of playing the position ... Had 21 tackles, six tackles for loss, four sacks and two fumble recoveries in four games during his junior year, when he primarily played offensive tackle.Brandon Byrd, RB, 6-0, 198, East Bay HS, Gibsonton, Fla.: Finished his senior season with 470 yards and nine touchdowns on 85 carries and 191 yards and two scores on 11 catches for East Bay ... He also returned six kickoffs for 114 yards and five punts for 163 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown ... As a junior, Byrd totaled 768 yards, six touchdowns, two two-point conversions and 10 tackles as a defensive back ... He also averaged nearly 31 yards per punt return.Cody Collins, OL, 6-2, 280, Trotwood (Ohio) Madison HS: Chose Marshall over Bowling Green, Ohio, Toledo and Western Kentucky ... With the help of Collins' blocking, the Rams gained 5,200 total yards (1,678 passing and 3,522 rushing) in 2012 and finished with a championship-game loss in the Division II state playoffs and a 12-3 record ... Played as a junior for Kettering Alter High.Tyler Combs, OL, 6-5, 275, Lawrence County HS, Louisa, Ky.: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Originally signed with the Herd in 2012 ... Nickname is "Big Country" ... Named all-state first team by Louisville Courier-Journal as junior and senior ... Was four-year starter for Bulldogs ... Blocked for an offense that averaged more than 400 yards per game and had 100 pancake blocks ... Had 70 tackles at DT as a junior ... From same high school that produced MU Hall of Famer and former assistant coach Phil Ratliff.Neville Hewitt, LB, 6-2, 220, Georgia Military College, Conyers, Ga.: Also had offers from Colorado State, South Alabama and Appalachian State ... Had 65 tackles, five tackles for loss and five pass breakups for Georgia Military this past season, when he played a hybrid safety/linebacker spot ... Will have three years to play two seasons at Marshall ... Originally a Class of 2011 prospect from Rockdale County High School in Conyers, Ga., he had scholarship offers from South Carolina, Buffalo, Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky ... Recruited by Todd Hartley.Stefan Houston, LB, 6-3, 200, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, Clarksburg, Md.: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Signed with Maryland last February, turning down offers from West Virginia, East Carolina and Rutgers, after starring at Clarksburg High ... Had more than 100 tackles and two interceptions as high school senior ... Also played WR and some "Wildcat" at QB ... Named all-state for Class 4A and 3A ... Played in Crab Bowl (Maryland all-star game).Chris Huhn, OL, 6-6, 290, Pickerington (Ohio) North HS: Also had offers from Western Kentucky, Louisville, Akron, Ohio, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio) and Toledo ... His team (12-2) lost to Cincinnati Moeller (and QB Spencer Iacovone, a Herd baseball signee) in the Ohio Division I playoff semifinals.Justin Hunt, WR, 6-2, 180, Whitehaven HS, Memphis, Tenn.: Chose Marshall over offers from hometown Tigers, Arkansas State and Western Kentucky ... Helped Whitehaven win the Class 6A state championship (the first state title in school history) ... Finished senior season with 21 catches for 405 yards and four touchdowns for the Tigers (15-0).Sandley Jean-Felix, OL, 6-5, 292, Boyd Anderson HS, Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.: Also had offers from Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, Texas Tech, West Virginia and Bethune-Cookman ... Led his team to a 10-3 record and the third round of the Class 7A state playoffs, losing to eventual state champion St. Thomas Aquinas ... Helped the Cobras run for 705 yards and pass for 2,616 yards in 2012 ... Moved to right tackle as a senior ... Former basketball player who has played football only two years ... Started at guard in football as a sophomore.Angelo Jean-Louis, WR, 6-0, 185, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, Wellington, Fla.: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Signed with Miami (Fla.) last February, but attended Fork Union Military Academy for the fall semester ... Turned down scholarship offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Rutgers, Tennessee, USC, Vanderbilt and West Virginia ... Honorable mention Class 8A Florida all-state (utility player) as 2011 senior at Palm Beach Central.Michael Johnson, DB, 5-10, 165, Booker T. Washington HS, Miami: Also offered by West Virginia, Texas Tech, Houston, FIU, Kansas State, Ole Miss and Utah ... 2012 Associated Press Florida Class 4A all-state second-team pick at DB ... Booker T. (13-1) won the 4A state title this past season over the Bolles School, 35-7, after losing to the Jacksonville team in 2011 ... Booker's only loss was to 6A champ Miami Central (which produced Herd pass-catch stars Rakeem Cato and Tommy Shuler) ... According to the Miami Herald, Johnson made 37 tackles and three interceptions in 2012, after 75 tackles and five interceptions in 2011.Shawney Kersey, WR, 6-1, 197, Penn State transfer, Woodbury, N.J.: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Transferred to Marshall and enrolled as graduate student last month; will be a football senior for Herd in 2013 ... Played only two games for Penn State last season, catching six passes for 44 yards, before leaving the Nittany Lion program ... Earned his degree in telecommunications ... As 2011 junior, had five catches for 108 yards As sophomore in 2010, played in 10 games at receiver and on special teams ... Played at Woodbury High, missing a portion of his senior season due to injury...Was an All-Group I second-team pick as a junior, with 35 receptions for 534 yards and four touchdowns ... Also returned three kickoffs and three punts for touchdowns ... On defense, had 55 tackles and three interceptions ... Had offers out of high school from Michigan State, Virginia, Iowa, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, East Carolina and Rutgers.Josh Knight, WR, 6-1, 180, Fort Pierce (Fla.) HS: Chose Herd over Middle Tennessee State and Bowling Green ... Also had offers from Florida International, Georgia State, Massachusetts, Memphis, USF, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan ... Finished his senior season with 29 catches for 383 yards and five touchdowns in nine games ... Had 29 catches for 365 yards and six scores in 11 games as a junior ... Cobras completed their season with a third-round loss in the Class 7A state playoffs to finish with an 11-1 record.Tiquan Lang, DB, 5-9, 174, Lowndes HS (Valdosta, Ga.), Port St. Joe, Fla.: Also offered by Temple and Middle Tennessee State ... Georgia Class 6A all-state first-team selection ... Made 73 tackles and three interceptions for Lowndes this season ... He also rushed 15 times for 186 yards and two touchdowns and returned six punts for 113 yards and five kickoffs for 201 yards, including a 98-yard score.Taj Letman, DB, 6-3, 195, Holmes (Miss.) CC, Elberton, Ga.: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Has three seasons of eligibility remaining ... Signed Dec. 19, picking Marshall over Arizona, Baylor, Charlotte, FIU, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Purdue and South Alabama ... Did not play 2012 season, suffered a season-ending injury on the first day of preseason practice ... High jumped 6-8 in Georgia high school regional meet ... Had 59 tackles and 10 pass breakups for Holmes CC in 2011.Deontay McManus, WR, 6-2, 220, Atlanta Sports Academy, Baltimore: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Chose the Herd over SMU from a prep season at Atlanta Sports Academy, the same program that produced Herd record-setting punter Tyler Williams and fellow newcomers Corey Tindal and Kent Turene ... Originally a Class of 2012 prospect, he originally signed with West Virginia after spurning offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Marshall, Maryland, Michigan, NC State, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.Tony Pittman, RB, 5-11, 200, Phoebus HS, Hampton, Va.: Decided on Marshall over offers from Cincinnati, Miami, Ole Miss, Northern Illinois, Old Dominion, Purdue and Syracuse ... Gained 1,761 yards and scored 22 touchdowns in 241 carries during his 2012 senior season, as Phoebus went 12-1 and reached the Class AAA Division 5 regional finals round of the Virginia high school playoffs ... All-Eastern Region second-team pick by VirginiaPreps.com ... Ran for 1,577 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior, earning All-Peninsula District honors in talent-rich Tidewater area.Shykeem Pitts, DB, 5-11, 175, Ridge HS, Davenport, Fla.: Chose Marshall over an offer from Tennessee ... One of the most versatile players in the MU 2013 class; recruited as a defensive back ... Had 289 yards and seven touchdowns on 95 carries, plus 45 yards on seven catches during a senior season in which he led his team to a 9-3 record and the second round of the state playoffs ... Passed for 339 yards and two scores, completing 21 of 38 passes with two interceptions ... On defense, had 10 tackles, six interceptions and one forced fumble.Aaron Plantt, LB, 6-1, 202, Hallandale (Fla.) HS: Had offers from Western Michigan, Delaware and Liberty ... Had 44 tackles, 10 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and one interception for Hallandale (6-4) in 2012 ... Was a running back as a high school sophomore.Michael Selby, OL, 6-3, 280, Washington County HS, Sandersville, Ga.: Chose the Herd over Mississippi State, Middle Tennessee, Georgia Tech and Georgia State ... Helped Washington County rush for more than 3,000 yards and pass for more than 2,000 in 2012 ... His team went 12-1 with a Class 3A playoff appearance ... Had 96 pancake blocks and 72 finishes and graded at 89 percent.Devon Smith, WR, 5-7, 150, Penn State transfer, White Plains, Md.: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Transferred last summer from Penn State and redshirted for the 2012 season; will be senior in 2013 season ... Starred at Westlake High in Waldorf, Md. ... For Penn State, played 13 games in 2011 and caught 25 passes for 402 yards and two touchdowns and also returned kicks ... As a sophomore (2010), made six starts and played in 13 games, with 27 receptions for 363 yards and one TD ... He also ranked second in Big Ten in 2010 with a 12.9-yard punt return average ... Played in 10 games as a 2009 freshman, getting four catches for 30 yards. He returned five kickoffs for 91 yards ... Was named the fastest athlete by Rivals in the country's entire recruiting class coming out of high school.Gary Thompson, DE/LB, 6-3, 206, Helix HS, La Mesa, Calif.: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Originally a member of the Herd's 2012 recruiting class ... Was two-way starter who led Helix (13-1) to the Division II state championship in 2011 ... Same school produced former Herd running back Travon Van ... As a defensive end, he made 55 tackles, including 18 for loss, and had 14 sacks and 23 quarterback hurries ... As a tight end, he had 10 catches, including three for touchdowns ... Was second-team all-state pick (multipurpose player) ... Caught 72-yard scoring pass in state title game ... As Helix senior, had 55 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 23 QB hurries and three forced fumbles.Corey Tindal, CB, 5-10, 175, Atlanta Sports Academy, Lauderdale Lakes, Fla.: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Originally a member of the Herd's 2012 recruiting class after signing with FIU in 2011 ... Spent last season at the Atlanta Sports Academy ... As a senior, he also had scholarship offers from Bowling Green, Buffalo, Florida International, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Toledo, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan ... All-Broward County as a senior ... Was No. 7 Broward County prospect ... Played in Dade-Broward All-Star Game ... Had 20 tackles, two interceptions on defense and 1,300 yards on 187 carries in 15 touchdowns (total) as a senior.Kent Turene, LB, 6-3, 230, Atlanta Sports Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: Already enrolled at Marshall ... Originally signed with Georgia but was a member of the Herd's 2012 recruiting class ... Spent prep season at Atlanta Sports Academy ... As a Boyd Anderson High School senior, he also had offers from Cal, UCF, Cincinnati, Florida, FAU, FIU, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, Minnesota, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, USC, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Western Kentucky ... Had 230 career tackles in high school to go with 20 sacks, four interceptions and eight forced fumbles ... All-state first-team selection.De'Andre "Chocolate" Wilson, DB, 5-10, 170, Myrtle Beach (S.C.) HS: Picked the Herd after narrowing his choices to Purdue, Ole Miss and Marshall ... Also had offers from Missouri and N.C. State ... From same high school as former Herd RB Butchie Wallace ... Sidelined with a knee injury, Wilson played in only two games and recorded 15 tackles this season ... Palmetto State coaches picked him to participate in the annual Shrine Bowl, which pits the top seniors from North Carolina and South Carolina in all-star game ... Recorded 39 tackles, intercepted six passes, recovered two fumbles and scored two defensive touchdowns as a junior in 2011 season.Gerald Wright, OL, 6-3 320, Northwestern HS, Miami: The Bulls amassed 3,660 total yards (1,465 passing and 2,195 rushing) this year en route to a 9-3 record and Class 6A state playoff appearance ... Picked the Herd over offers from Florida State, Florida A&M and Ole Miss ... Has versatility to play any of the OL spots.