Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Marshall Football: Breaking Down the 2013 Recruiting Class

Marshall's football program received 29 letters of intent earlier today and the accolades are rolling in with them. ranks the Thundering Herd's recruiting class as the best among schools that will make up Conference USA next year and beyond.

The 29 commitments fall into many different categories, high school seniors, prep school players, junior college transfers, non-qualifiers, grayshirts, and BCS transfers. We have classified each signee with additional background information below.

High School Seniors

During his senior season Anderson completed 40-of-81 passes for 509 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions before suffering a season-ending injury (broken collarbone). 

Listed at six-foot-three, 273 pounds, Selby is rated a three star prospect by and Besides Marshall, Selby also had scholarship offers from Mississippi State and Middle Tennessee.

Plantt committed to Utah State over the summer but he began to waiver in the fall, taking visits to Liberty and Appalachian State. One of the leaders on Hallandale High Schools defense, Plantt stands at six-foot-one, 202 pounds.

A three star prospect out of Florida’s Boyd Anderson High School, Jean-Felix gave a verbal pledge to FIU this fall but re-opened his recruitment after the Golden Panthers fired former head coach Mario Cristobal. He is listed at six-foot-five, 300 pounds.

Pitts wore a number of hats at Florida's Ridge Community High School. The teams starting quarterback, Pitts completed 21 passes on 38 attempts for 339 yards and two touchdowns. A dual threat, he also rushed for seven scores and 289 yards. At wide receiver Pitts caught seven passes for 45 yards. On defense, the three star prospect registered ten tackles and a forced fumble.

A power runner, Pittman lead Phoebus High School (VA) with 1,784 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns despite missing the seasons first three games. He is expected to play defense at Marshall.

Sporting tremendous size, the Pickerington Ohio native stands six-foot-six, 290 pounds. Huhn is rated a three star prospect according to Besides Marshall, he also held scholarship offers from Louisville and many Mid American Conference schools.

Standing six-foot-two, 220 pounds, Benjamin has been rated the 20th best linebacker prospect in the class of 2013 by Besides Marshall, Benjamin had scholarship offers from many other schools including WVU, Purdue, Texas A&M, Kentucky, and FAU.

Johnson made 37 tackles and three interceptions in 2012, after 75 tackles and five interceptions in 2011. Associated Press Florida Class 4A All-State second team pick at DB his senior season. 

With the help of Wright's blocking, Miami Northwestern 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.

With the help of Collins' blocking, Trotwood-Madison 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.

A all state selection in Georgia, Lang was a versatile weapon at Lowndes High School. During his senior season Lang averaged 19.4 yards per punt return and 36.6 yards per kickoff return while scoring three special teams touchdowns. At safety, the position he is expected to play in college, Lang intercepted a team high four passes. Not to be left out of the offense, he also scored six rushing touchdowns.

Sidelined with a knee injury, Wilson only played two games this season, recording 15 tackles. Recorded 39 tackles, six interceptions, two fumbles recoveries, and two defensive touchdowns as a junior in 2011.

Knight finished his senior season with 29 catches for 383 yards and five touchdowns. Had 29 catches for 365 yards and six scores as a junior.

Standing six-feet, 185 pounds, Byrd was a versatile offensive weapon at East Bay High School, Fla. The teams primary ball carrier, he rushed for 470 yards and nine touchdowns while also catching 11 passes for 191 and two scores during his senior season.

Finished senior season with 21 catches for 405 yards and four touchdowns for Whitehaven.

Prep School Enrolees

Houston signed with Maryland last February, turning down offers from West Virginia, East Carolina and Rutgers, after starring at Clarksburg (Md.) High . Attended prep school at Fork Union. Had more than 100 tackles and two interceptions as a high school senior. 

Jean-Louis signed with Miami (Fla.) last February but, he ended up attending Fork Union Military Academy this fall. Honorable mention Class 8A Florida All-State (utility player) at Palm Beach Central High School his senior season.

Originally a Class of 2012 prospect, McManus signed with West Virginia after spurning offers from Alabama, Auburn, and Clemson among many others. As a high school senior he caught 38 passes for 561 yards and six touchdowns.

Junior College Transfers

Letman did not play in 2012 after suffering a season-ending injury on the first day of preseason practice. He had 59 tackles and 10 pass breakups for Holmes Community College in 2011. Has three seasons of eligibility remaining.

A two year player at Georgia Military College, Hewitt registered a team high 65 tackles as a freshman. In 2012 the six-foot-two, 220 pound safety was named a National Junior College Athletic Association All American honorable mention.

This season, Blackmon led the Southwest Junior College Conference with 21 tackles for loss and was second in the league with eight sacks.

2012 Academic Non-Qualifiers

Thompson was originally a member of the Herd's 2012 recruiting class. Two-way starter who led Helix (13-1) to the California Division II state championship in 2011.

Tindal was originally a member of the Herd's 2012 recruiting class after signing with FIU in 2011. Spent a prep season at the Atlanta Sports Academy.

Turene originally signed with Georgia but was a member of the Herd's 2012 recruiting class. Spent at prep season at Atlanta Sports Academy.


Combs originally signed with the Herd in 2012. He was named All-State first team by the Louisville Courier-Journal as a junior and senior.

BCS Transfers

Standing six-foot-one, 197 pounds, Kersey was seldom used at Penn State. In four years he caught 12 passes for 154 yards. Kersey entered 2012 as the Nittnay Lions most experienced receiver, recording 44 receiving yards on six receptions before leaving the program. Has a single year of eligibility remaining.

Brown had 90 tackles, 22 tackles for loss and eight sacks during his senior year. Originally signed a letter of intent with Clemson before enrolling at Marshall. Brown has four years of eligibility remaining.

Smith, caught 25 passes for 402 yards and two touchdowns during his junior year at Penn State. At PSU Smith totaled more than 700 receiving yards on 56 receptions. Took a redshirt year at Marshall in 2012, has one year of eligibility left. 

Notes - It looks like Louisville transfer Larry Jefferson is no longer with the football program. He was not among the 29 players announced by Marshall earlier today...Although they have signed letters of intent, a number of today's signees still have eligibility (academics) concerns, they are Brandon Byrd, Stefan Houston, Deontay McManus, Shykeem Pitts, Michael Johnson, and Tony Pittman. If any of the players can't pass the NCAA clearinghouse they have the option of staying enrolled at Marshall for one year in order to gain their eligibility. 

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