Inside Marshall Sports

NFL Draft: Will any MU players be picked?

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The Herd has a five-year streak  of having a player drafted on the line. The two best prospects are RB Devon Johnson and safety D.J. Hunter. (Yes, he was an LB at Marshall.) Check my story tonight/Thursday morning to see their chances, as told by somebody else.

My standard warning: There are only so many picks (253 this year) and about 1,000 who fancy themselves draft-worthy. If you hear something from a player or an agent, please don’t take it to heart.

So … I ask you: What MU players will be picked, what round and by whom? You’ll have until Saturday, as they won’t go in the first 3 rounds.

A quick cheat sheet: Here is how NFLDraftscout.com (as published on CBSSports.com) ranks these guys at their position:

  • Hunter 12th as a free safety, 275th overall.
  • Johnson is 22nd among running backs, 277th overall.
  • Sebastian Johansson 23rd among guards
  • Corey Tindal 37th among CBs
  • Taj Letman 44th among strong safeties
  • Keith Baxter 58th among cornerbacks)
  • Evan McKelvey 67th, outside linebackers

For extra credit, tell us where the free agents sign.

Finally a history of Marshall picks, with round and overall selection:

2015 7 247 Darryl Roberts CB New England Patriots
2014 6 199 Garrett Scott T Seattle Seahawks
2013 2 59 Aaron Dobson WR New England Patriots
2012 2 59 Vinny Curry DE Philadelphia Eagles
2011 5 159 Lee Smith TE New England Patriots
2007 7 250 Ahmad Bradshaw RB New York Giants
2005 6 206 Johnathan Goddard LB Detroit Lions
2004 2 54 Darius Watts WR Denver Broncos
2003 1 7 Byron Leftwich QB Jacksonville Jaguars
2003 3 84 Chris Crocker DB Cleveland Browns
2003 4 122 Steve Sciullo G Indianapolis Colts
2002 7 243 Chris Massey LS St. Louis Rams
2001 2 51 Paul Toviessi DE Denver Broncos
2000 1 18 Chad Pennington QB New York Jets
2000 2 43 Rogers Beckett S San Diego Chargers
2000 3 88 Doug Chapman RB Minnesota Vikings
2000 6 175 James Williams WR Seattle Seahawks
1998 1 21 Randy Moss WR Minnesota Vikings
1998 5 148 John Wade C Jacksonville Jaguars
1993 8 198 Troy Brown WR New England Patriots
1989 4 112 Michael Barber WR San Francisco 49ers
1989 6 164 Sean Doctor TE Buffalo Bills
1983 7 186 Carl Lee DB Minnesota Vikings
1967 14 353 Andy Socha RB Washington Redskins
1965 16  211 Tom Good LB New York Giants
1964 18 251 Mike Hicks G Green Bay Packers
1962 17 234 Rucker Wickline C Detroit Lions
1959 29 338 Jim O’Connor C Chicago Cardinals
1958 15 70 Ray Dunlap B Chicago Cardinals
1958 24 288 Jim O’Connor T Cleveland Browns
1956 8 97 Len Hellyer B Cleveland Browns
1955 18 210 Albin Maier G Pittsburgh Steelers
1954 13 157 Jim Swierczek B/E Detroit Lions
1950 13  170 Norm Willey DE Philadelphia Eagles
1948 21 193 Charlie Snyder T Pittsburgh Steelers
1942 13  120 Jackie Hunt HB Chicago Bears
1940 14  126 Jack Morlock WB Detroit Lions
1939 18  162 Frank Huffman G Chicago Cardinals
1939 17 151 Everette “Boot” Elkins Back Chicago Cardinals

Spring observations, questions, 4/17

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After scrimmage No. 1, a few thoughts:

  • Is CB Chris Jackson that good? He doesn’t look like he’s 18, and he looks like he’s been doing this for a few years. He’s taller and longer than the typical Marshall cornerback. D coordinator Chuck Heater says Jackson needs to recover better when a receiver does get behind him, but he gives a good grade.
  • Can Davon Durant become a really, really bad dude? He’s got closing speed and is hitting as if he’s on a mission. If he keeps on, he starts and suddenly, coaches have some nice options in that unit.
  • Shawn Petty at SLB? It’s probably the best way to get him on the field at least part of the time — and not have to play nickel every down.
  • Is TE Emanuel Byrd the No. 2 option at slot receiver behind Josh Knight, or even a 1-B? Yes, the Herd is looking at him in the slot with Ryan Earachek attached … 2 detached TEs are not out of the question. Nick Mathews may not be ready for prime time this fall, but you can’t keep him off the field forever.
  • Michael Selby double shifted a lot this week, playing center on 2nd team. If Nate Devers pans out this fall at center, you can still expect Selby to be No. 2 man there, as well as the No. 1 guard.
  • Chase Litton is still your starting QB unless he literally throws it away, but missing high against the blitz is a recipe for disaster.
  • Keion Davis has a loooong way to go in regards to blocking pass rushers. That will keep him at No. 3 when Tony Pittman returns this fall.
  • Saturday’s scrimmage aside, the outside receivers continue to give encouraging performances. Justin Hunt had a very good week.
  • Doc Holliday says the picture at defensive tackle is brighter than it was last year, when Jarquez Samuel and Steve Dillon ruled the inside. I’ll meet him halfway, for now — youngsters Jason Smith, Nyquan Harris and Tomell One will take their lumps vs. Louisville and Pitt, but they’ll look nice by mid-October.
  • About Kaare Vedvik: Worry more about him at holder than at punter. Operation with new snapper Zach Wood hasn’t been perfect, as is needed.
  • There are 146 days until the Sept. 10 opener against Morgan State. Don’t think about the FG situation for all those days, or you’ll go insane.

Anything else you want to bounce off me in the last 2 weeks and beyond, reply here or tweet me @dougsmock.

Herd and C-USA tiebreakers

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After Thursday night’s shot to the gut, here are the standings from seeds 2-5:

La Tech 12-5
MTSU 12-5
Marshall 11-6
ODU 11-6

A Marshall win clinches 4th and a bye to the quarterfinals. In fact, I believe the only way the Herd drops to 5th is with an unexpected loss to Southern Miss and an ODU win at Rice.

The Herd can climb to 3rd in a few scenarios that involve multiple-team ties and involve ODU.

Here are the tiebreakers, as I understand the conference process (which has changed a little bit over the years):

Two ways
LT over MTSU
LT over Marshall
ODU over LT
MTSU over Marshall
MTSU over ODU
Marshall over ODU

Three ways
LT, MT, Marshall (2, 3, 4) (ODU alone at 5)
Marshall, LT, ODU (3, 4, 5) (MT would be alone at 2)
Marshall, MT, ODU (3, 4, 5) (LT wold be alone at 2)
LT, MT, ODU (2, 3, 4) (That involves MU dropping to 5)

Four ways
LT 2, Marshall 3, MT 4, ODU 5

Current standings:

1. UAB 15-2 (reg season champ). Left: at FAU
2. La Tech 12-5. Left: at WKU
3. MTSU 12-5. Left: at FIU
4. Marshall 11-6. Left: USM
5. ODU 11-6. Left: at Rice
6. Charlotte 9-8. Left: At North Texas
7. UTEP 9-8 Left: at UTSA
8. Rice 7-10. Left: ODU
9. Florida International 7-10. Left: UAB
10. W. Kentucky 7-10. Left: La Tech
11. North Texas 6-11. Left: Charl
12. Fla. Atlantic 5-12 (“clinched” 12th seed). Left: UAB
*****Southern Miss ineligible*****
13. UT-San Antonio 3-14 (“clinched 13th seed”). Left: UTEP

 

And finally, those weird projected standings I have been keeping that will not happen. Illogical hunches from before: FIU will take down MTSU, La Tech will get upset at WKU and ODU will get upset at North Texas. (Go ahead, parlay that at the sportsbook.)

For you humor, and nothing else:

1. UAB 16-2
2. La Tech 12-6
3. MTSU 12-6
4. Marshall 12-6
5. ODU 11-7
6. Charlotte 10-8
7. UTEP 10-8
8. FIU 8-10
9. W. Kentucky 8-10
10. Rice 7-11
11. North Texas 6-12
12. FAU 5-13
13. UTSA 3-15

Here are the more likely standings, if all favorites win Saturday:

1. UAB 16-2
2. La Tech 13-5
3. MTSU 13-5
4. Marshall 12-6
5. ODU 12-6
6. Charlotte 10-8
7. UTEP 10-8
8. Rice 7-11
9. FIU 7-11
10. W. Kentucky 7-11
11. North Texas 6-12
12. FAU 5-13
13. UTSA 3-15

Either way, I call it UTSA vs. FAU in the 12-vs.-13 game Tuesday with winner playing No. 5 ODU at 3:30 Eastern on Wednesday, with winner facing No. 4 Marshall at 3:30 Thursday. Brace for another 37 from Trey Freeman!

 

 

C-USA heading into final week

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Hello, Herd fans. After two tough losses, here’s the standings table:

1. UAB 14-2 (reg season champ). Left: at FIU, at FAU
2/3/4. Marshall 11-5. Left: La Tech, USM
2/3/4. La Tech 11-5. Left: at MU, at WKU
2/3/4. MTSU 11-5. Left at FAU, at FIU
5. ODU 10-6. Left: at NT, at Rice
6. UTEP 9-8 Left: at UTSA
7. Charlotte 8-8. Left: at Rice, at NT
8. Florida International 7-9. Left: MTSU, UAB
9. Rice 7-9. Left: Charl, ODU
10. W. Kentucky 6-10. Left: USM, La Tech
11. North Texas 6-10. Left: ODU, Charl
12. Fla. Atlantic 5-11 (“clinched” 12th seed). Left: MTSU, UAB
*****Southern Miss ineligible*****
13. UT-San Antonio 3-14 (“clinched 13th seed”). Left: UTEP

Very interesting that the Marshall-La Tech game is the only one matching 2 of the top 5 teams this week. If the Dunkin’ Dawgs win, they’re supreme in all possible tiebreakers. Ditto for Marshall, who has the advantage of playing a Southern Miss team that is out of the postseason and might check out early.

Results for tiebreaker use:

  • Marshall-La Tech still to play
  • MU split with MTSU
  • MU swept ODU
  • La Tech beat MTSU
  • MTSU beat ODU
  • ODU beat La Tech

Marshall’s opening opponent, whether in the second round (or what I still call the first round) or quarterfinals? Anybody from UTEP to UTSA. With that, on to the projected final standings.

UTEP lost to Charlotte, so that changed my chart a little. I nailed Southern Miss beating North Texas on Senior Day, and picked MTSU over Marshall.

My injected results/upsets in the final week remain: FIU will take down either UAB or MTSU (I’ll take MTSU), Louisiana Tech will get swept on the MU/WKU roadie. Marshall will win out at home, and I am looking at ODU to get upset at North Texas.

The projected, semi-logical final standings:

1. UAB 16-2
2. Marshall 13-5
3. La Tech 12-6
4. MTSU 12-6
5. ODU 11-7
6. Charlotte 10-8
7. UTEP 10-8
8. FIU 8-10
9. Rice 7-11
10. W. Kentucky 7-11
11. North Texas 7-11
12. FAU 5-13
13. UTSA 3-15

Remember, Southern Miss is omitted.

Should this somehow stand up, the Herd would be the 2nd seed and play at 6 p.m. Central on Thursday, March 10 against the UTEP-WKU winner. Nothing boring about that, folks.

Notes about the tournament: The format is much like the 12-team bracket, except a 12-vs.-13 game is played on Tuesday the 8th on the UAB campus. Winner plays No. 5 on Wednesday the 9th. Top 4 teams still get a bye to quarterfinals.

And this: The bracket is no longer set around the host team getting the prime time slot. Game times are all set, and I am hoping to keep the Herd out of the 3rd seed. Those mean 8:30 p.m. Central, if not later. Newspaper guys don’t like late games.

Here is the tiebreaker system, copied from C-USA’s weekly release:

Ties in winning percentage, and thus for seeding positions shall be broken according to the following;
1. Between TWO teams
a. Head to head
b. If still tied, compare records versus teams with highest winning percentage in Conference play in descending order until tie is
broken. When arriving at a set of tied teams (i.e., winning percentage) while comparing records, use each team’s record versus
the COLLECTIVE tied teams as a group (prior to that group’s own tiebreaking process).

c. If still tied, seeding will be determined by draw (*).

2. Between THREE or more teams
a. Conduct a mini round robin among the tied teams. Team with the highest winning percentage will receive the higher seed (#).
b. If a three-way tie still exists after conducting the round robin, follow Step 1b, then Step 1c if needed. If at any point the number of teams tied reduces to two, steps 1 a-c are followed.
(#) When comparing records against single teams or groups of teams, the highest winning percentage prevails, even if the number of games played is unequal.
(*) If a DRAW is necessary, the following will be used:
A single slip of paper with names representing each of the tied institutions will be placed into a container and will be drawn in order from highest (better seed) to lowest.

Big game Thursday, Herd fans!

C-USA standings, tiebreakers, etc.

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Hello, Herd fans.

First, the standings after Thursday’s play. I have broken the ties that can be broken.
1. UAB 13-2. Left: WKU, at FIU, at FAU
2. Marshall 11-4. Left: at MTSU, La Tech, USM
3. La Tech 10-5. Left: Rice, at MU, at WKU
4. MTSU 10-5. Left MU, at FAU, at FIU
5. ODU 9-6. Left: UTSA, at NT, at Rice
6. UTEP 9-7 Left: at Charl, UTSA
7. Charlotte 7-8. Left: UTEP, at Rice, at NT
8. Rice 7-8. Left: at La Tech, Charl, ODU
9. W. Kentucky 6-9. Left: at UAB, USM, La Tech
10. North Texas 6-9. Left: at USM, ODU, Charl
11. Fla. International 6-9. Left: at FAU, UAB, MTSU
12. Fla. Atlantic 5-10. Left: FIU, MTSU, UAB
*****Southern Miss ineligible*****
13. UT-San Antonio 3-13. Left: at ODU, UTEP

I’ll copy and paste the tiebreaker system below. Here’s how it looks from the Herd’s vantage point: an 0-3 finish means a drop as far as 6th seed. I don’t see where a win doesn’t clinch a bye to the quarterfinals of the C-USA tournament. A 2-1 finish does not clinch the No. 2 seed, at least looking at it today. A 3-0 finish does, and the Herd would steal the championship with an 0-3 UAB finish (fat chance of that).

 

For the projected final standings, UTEP did indeed lose this week, so I will pick the Miners to win at Charlotte. Earlier projections I will stick with: FIU will take down either UAB or MTSU (I’ll take MTSU), Louisiana Tech will get swept on the MU/WKU roadie, and ineligible Southern Miss will somehow upend North Texas before checking out again. I’ll guess the Herd to lose at MTSU because strange things happen in Murfreesboro, then win out at home. Also, I am looking at ODU getting upset at North Texas.

The projected, illogical final standings:

1. UAB 16-2
2. Marshall 13-5
3. La Tech 12-6
4. MTSU 12-6
5. ODU 11-7
6. UTEP 11-7
7. Charlotte 9-9
8. Rice 8-10
9. North Texas 8-10
10. FIU 8-10
11. WKU 8-10
12. FAU 5-13
13. UTSA 3-15

Remember, Southern Miss is omitted.

Should this somehow stand up, the Herd would be the 2nd seed and play at 6 p.m. Central on Thursday, March 10 against the Charlotte-FIU winner.

Notes about the tournament: The format is much like the 12-team bracket, except a 12-vs.-13 game is played on Tuesday the 8th on the UAB campus. Winner plays No. 5 on Wednesday the 9th. Top 4 teams still get a bye to quarterfinals.

And this: The bracket is no longer set around the host team getting the prime time slot. Game times are all set, and I am hoping to keep the Herd out of the 3rd and 6th seeds. Those mean 8:30 p.m. Central, if not later. Newspaper guys don’t like late games.

Here is the tiebreaker system, copied from C-USA’s weekly release:

Ties in winning percentage, and thus for seeding positions shall be broken according to the following;
1. Between TWO teams
a. Head to head
b. If still tied, compare records versus teams with highest winning percentage in Conference play in descending order until tie is
broken. When arriving at a set of tied teams (i.e., winning percentage) while comparing records, use each team’s record versus
the COLLECTIVE tied teams as a group (prior to that group’s own tiebreaking process).
c. If still tied, seeding will be determined by draw (*).

2. Between THREE or more teams
a. Conduct a mini round robin among the tied teams. Team with the highest winning percentage will receive the higher seed (#).
b. If a three-way tie still exists after conducting the round robin, follow Step 1b, then Step 1c if needed. If at any point the number of teams tied reduces to two, steps 1 a-c are followed.
(#) When comparing records against single teams or groups of teams, the highest winning percentage prevails, even if the number of games played is unequal.
(*) If a DRAW is necessary, the following will be used:
A single slip of paper with names representing each of the tied institutions will be placed into a container and will be drawn in order from highest (better seed) to lowest.

Big game Saturday, Herd fans … enjoy!

Projecting C-USA standings

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First, the current standings:
1. UAB 12-2. Left: MU, WKU, at FIU, at FAU
2. Marshall 11-3. Left: at UAB, at MTSU, La Tech, USM
3. MTSU 10-4. Left WKU, MU, at FAU, at FIU
4. La Tech 9-5. Left: NT, Rice, at MU, at WKU
5. UTEP 9-6. Left: at ODU, at Charl, UTSA
6. ODU 8-6. Left: UTEP, UTSA, at NT, at Rice
7/8/9. North Texas 6-8. Left: at La Tech, at USM, ODU, Charl
7/8/9. Rice 6-8. Left: at USM, at La Tech, Charl, ODU
7/8/9. Charlotte 6-8. Left: UTSA, UTEP, at Rice, at NT
10. Fla. International 6-9. Left: at FAU, UAB, MTSU
11. W. Kentucky 5-9. Left: at MTSU, at UAB, USM, La Tech
12. Fla. Atlantic 5-10. Left: FIU, MTSU, UAB
*****Southern Miss ineligible*****
13. UT-San Antonio 2-13. Left: at Charl, at ODU, UTEP

With 2 weekends left, I shall take a stab at a projection on final standings. It’s a hazardous exercise, but I’ll give it a go.

The trick is to predict a few upsets. I’ll get one or two, but college basketball doesn’t follow a neat script. Among the illogical guesses: FIU will take down either UAB or MTSU, Louisiana Tech will get swept on the MU/WKU roadie, UTEP finally loses this week and ineligible Southern Miss will upend North Texas before checking out the next week. I’ll guess the Herd to lose at UAB because the Blazers are really good and lose at MTSU because strange things happen in Murfreesboro, then win out at home.

The projected final standings:

1. UAB 16-2
2. Marshall 13-5
3. MTSU 13-5
4. ODU 11-7
5. UTEP 11-7
6. La Tech 11-7
7. Charlotte 9-9
8. FIU 8-10
9. Rice 7-11
10. WKU 7-11
11. North Texas 7-11
12. FAU 5-13
13. UTSA 3-15

Remember, Southern Miss is omitted. And don’t try to make sense of it; I am throwing in illogical hunches.

Should this somehow stand up, the Herd would be the 2nd seed in a somewhat convoluted tiebreakers, and play at 6 p.m. Central on Thursday, March 10 against the Charlotte-WKU winner.

Notes about the tournament: The format is much like the 12-team bracket, except a 12-vs.-13 game is played on Tuesday the 8th on the UAB campus. Winner plays No. 5 on Wednesday the 9th. Top 4 teams still get a bye to quarterfinals.

And this: The bracket is no longer set around the host team getting the prime time slot. Game times are all set, and I am hoping to keep the Herd out of the 3rd and 6th seeds. Those mean 8:30 p.m. Central, if not later. Newspaper guys don’t like late games.

Big week, Herd fans … enjoy!

 

 

Herd-49ers track meet; who has toughest schedule

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Two items here today, so let’s get to it.

Marshall takes on Charlotte at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cam Henderson Center.

The Herd (13-12, 9-3) is third in Conference USA and the 49ers (10-15, 6-6) are in seventh, so it’s not exactly a 1-vs.-2 thing — unless we’re talking about scoring.

Counting conference games only, Marshall leads the league with 93.3 points per game, and Charlotte averages 82.9. BOTH numbers are higher than the league record of 81.2, set by Texas Christian in 2001-02.

The rest of the tale of the tape, again in league games only:

Scoring margin: Marshall +8.9 (1st), Charlotte +5.2 (4th)
Free throw percentage: Marshall .709 (4th), Charlotte .691 (8th)
Field-goal percentage: Marshall .505 (1st by .18), Charlotte .478 (4th)
3-point percentage: Charlotte .425 (1st), Marshall .402 (2nd)
3-point defense: Marshall .304 (2nd), Charlotte .421 (14th)
Assists: Marshall 19.0 (1st), Charlotte 15.58 (3rd)
Steals: Marshall 6.08 (T-3), Charlotte 5.25 (9th)
Turnover margin: Charlotte +1.5 (4th), Marshall -.067 (10th)
Assist/turnover ratio: Marshall 1.56 (1st), Charlotte 1.48 (3rd)
3-pointers made: Marshall 11.83 (1st), Charlotte 9.75 (2nd)

Are you seeing a trend?

Some individual leaders:
Scoring: Kelly, Herd 23.8 (2nd); Elmore, Herd 17.3 (9th); Uchebo, 49ers 16.0 (12th)
Rebounding: Uchebo, 49ers 13.8 (1st); Kelly, Herd 9.8 (4th)
FG percentage: Taylor, Herd .593 (4th); Uchebo, 49ers .580 (6th); Kelly, Herd .576 (8th); Vanhook, 49ers .571 (9th)
Assists: Elmore, Herd 6.75 (1st); Davis, 49ers 5.58 (4th)
FT percentage: Scott, 49ers .875 (T-6th)
Steals: Kelly, Herd 1.58 (T-7th)
3-pt percentage: White, 49ers .481 (3rd); Scott, 49ers .480 (4th); Elmore, Herd .458 (5th); Ogubueze, 49ers .448 (7th); Browining, Herd .440 (T-10th)
3-pointers made: Elmore, Herd 3.67 (1st); Ogbueze, 49ers 3.58 (2nd), White, 49ers 3.08 (3rd)
Assist/turnover ratio: Ogbueze, 49ers 4.00 (1st); Elmore, Herd 3.24 (2nd); Davis, 49ers 2.03 (8th); Browning, Herd 1.83 (10th)
Offensive rebounds: Uchebo, 49ers 4.67 (1st)
Minutes played: Ogbueze, 49ers 36.58 (2nd); Elmore, Herd 35.83 (T-5th)

There’s your game preview right there. And this: In the Herd’s 103-95 loss at Charlotte, the 49ers led by 19 with 7:25 left. Andrien White hit 8 3-pointers and scored 30, Joseph Uchebo went 24 and 21 and Curran Scott went 12 of 13 from the line. It was the Herd’s worst butt-kicking in conference play.

I’ll end with this: It’s not unreasonable to see Marshall staying at 3rd in the final C-USA standings, and Charlotte possibly sneaking up a spot to 6th. That could bring a Herd-49ers quarterfinal in Birmingham, so Marshall had better figure this team out.

***********************************

Next order of business: We start to break down the standings, and the schedule for the rest of the season. The record refers to composite league record of remaining teams.

The current picture:
1. UAB 11-2. Left: at MTSU, MU, WKU, at FIU, at FAU (Record 34-26)
2. MTSU 10-3. Left UAB, WKU, MU, at FAU, at FIU (Record 35-25)
3. Marshall 9-3. Left: Charl, ODU, at UAB, at MTSU, La Tech, USM (Record 46-28)
4. La Tech 8-4. Left: at UTSA, at UTEP, NT, Rice, at MU, at WKU (Record 30-44)
5. ODU 7-5. Left: at WKU, at MU, UTEP, UTSA, at NT, at Rice (Record 30-44)
6. UTEP 7-6. Left: USM, La Tech, at ODU, at Charl, UTSA (Record 27-34)
7. Charlotte 6-6. Left: at MU, at WKU, UTSA, UTEP, at Rice, at NT (Record 30-44)
8. Fla. International 6-7. Left: at NT, at Rice, at FAU, UAB, MTSU (Record 34-29)
9. Fla. Atlantic 5-8. Left: at Rice, at NT, FIU, MTSU, UAB (Record 35-28)
10/11/12. W. Kentucky 4-8. Left: ODU, Charl, at MTSU, at UAB, USM, La Tech (Record 46-28)
10/11/12. North Texas 4-8. Left: FIU, FAU, at La Tech, at USM, ODU, Charl (Record 36-38)
10/11/12. Rice. Left: FAU, FIU, at USM, at La Tech, Charl, ODU (Record 36-38)
*****Southern Miss ineligible*****
13. UT-San Antonio 2-11. Left: La Tech, USM, at Charl, at ODU, UTEP (Record 32-29)

Yes, that’s Marshall and WKU with the best record of teams remaining.

Marshall 70% at FT line? Could happen

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One of the most unsung positive developments in this Marshall basketball team? Free-throw shooting.

After watching some painful seasons at the FT line, the Thundering Herd is shooting .692, not that far from the 70 percent mark. Two seasons ago, that number was .622; in 2012-13, it was .598. Think about that — 59.8 percent.

DeAndre Kane was the biggest culprit that year, leading the team in FT attempts (165) but shooting just .521. He barely beat out big man Nigel Spikes, who was almost supposed to shoot his .520. Robert Goff, Chris Martin, Kelvin Amayo, JP Kambola and DeVince Boykins fell on the wrong side of .500.

Painful.

This year’s Herd’s led, quantity-wise, by Ryan Taylor (130 attempts, .677). But James Kelly, the MVP candidate is hitting .770 in 87 attempts, Jon Elmore .784 in 74 tries. Only Justin Edmonds (6 of 15, .400) is under .500.

The Herd can get to 70 percent immediately if it hits the first 12 at Western Kentucky this Saturday. As it is, this will be the second-best FT shooting in the past decade, only behind the .715 of 2008-09, the second year under Donnie Jones. (Alas, that was a 15-17 season that ended in an ugly loss to Rice.)

The top shooters, by number of attempts: Markel Humphrey (134 attempts, .734), Damier Pitts (113 tries, .841), Tirrell Baines (113 tries, .646) and Shaquille Johnson (102 tries, .716).

The last decade, by year:

2015-16 …   .692
2014-15 …   .648
2013-14 …   .622
2012-13 …   .598
2011-12 …   .614
2010-11 …   .679
2009-10 …   .684
2008-09 …   .715
2007-08 …   .680
2006-07 …   .652

The Ron Jirsa era wrapped up in 2007. The Tom Herrion era ran from 2010-14. See any patterns there?

If you’re wondering, the school record is .790 in the 1957-58 season.

 

 

 

 

The signing class of 2016

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Readjusted to 24.

Larry Aaron, DT, 6-5, 250, Columbia, Md.

One of the late commitments, 11 sacks as a junior. Played baseball and basketball, and I don’t know which is scarier for opponents. I’m not taking a charge from this guy! Coach Holliday likes multi-sport athletes. Ticketed for the 3-technique tackle; several teams come in late.

Tarik Adams, OL, 6-3, 300, Valdosta, Ga.

The Valdosta pipeline strikes again! One of 5 OLs in the class.

Sean Behrens, OL, 6-3, 290, Lithia, Fla.

Good academically, ticketed to play guard at this time.

Omari Cobb, LB, 6-4, 200, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

A Class 8A third-team all-state honoree. That’s not bad to do that in Florida’s biggest schools. Fits MU’s light ‘n’ speedy linebacker mold.

Rodney Croom, DE, 6-3, 235, Cincinnati, Ohio

13 sacks as a senior for Winton Woods High. Herd coaches have renewed a commitment to Cincy area.

JaQua Daniels, RB, 6-1, 219, Athens, Ga.

You can’t replace Devon Johnson, but this is along those lines.

Raymond Flanders, WR, 5-10, 170, Miami, Fla.

64 catches, 1,019 yards, 12 TDs for Florida 4A champs.

Xavier Gaines, QB/ATH, 6-2, 200, Frostproof, Fla.

Speed, athletic, can throw, can play multiple positions at this level. Coach Cronin has been in contact with this one for several years.

Chris Jackson, DB, 6-0, 160, Tallahassee, Fla. (enrolled)

Won a Florida state title in the 110-meter hurdles. I see Jackson with a 14.39 time on May 1, 2015; not sure what is his best.

Willie Johnson, WR, 6-0, 170, Fort Myers, Fla.

A late, late commitment and apparently, a good one. Also had offers from Arizona, Miami (FL), Ole Miss, North Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, Western Kentucky and Kent State … Also returned kicks for South Fort Myers and could do so here … clocked at 4.31 in the 40 last summer … Has 95 career catches for 1,560 yards and 14 touchdowns … Averaged 13.8 yards per carry on the ground with two touchdowns as a senior … rated a four-star prospect by ESPN.com. … Personal best in 200-meter run is 21.67 — 0.64 seconds faster than the West Virginia AAA champ.

Tyler King, RB, 5-11, 186, Fort Meade, Fla.

A speed back who can be a return guy.

Jeremiah Maddox, DB, 6-0, 180, Hilton Head Island, S.C. (enrolled)

Another 3-star recruit to fill up secondary position room.

Jaylon McClain-Sapp, DB, 5-11, 175, Jacksonville, Fla.

The word I heard from coach Goebbel is “confident.” As in, “he knows he’s the best on the field.” Like some cocky corners.

Cody Mitchell, ATH, 6-2, 212, Point Pleasant

Eager to follow brother Derek’s footsteps, though he won’t have to arrive as a walk-on. The “athlete” designation is a nod to his ability to be an outside linebacker, tight end or even a power running back, if warranted.

Alex Mollette, OL, 6-3, 284, Suwanee, Ga.

He helped helped North Gwinnett throw for 3,425 yards and 39 touchdowns and run for 1,368 yards and 17 scores en route to the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs. Said to bench-press 385 pounds, which would be comparable to that lifted by Cody Mitchell. … A “mean son of a gun” who can play multiple positions including center.

Garet Morrell, QB, 6-3, 195, Leesburg, Ga.

Broke fibula after leading Lee County to 6-1 start. In my experience, those tend to heal 100 percent, so he should be fine for his redshirt season. Spent 2 years behind Ohio State signee before jumping in for final 2 years.

Jestin Morrow, DB, 5-10, 160, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

Needs a few pounds but he’s not afraid of contact and will play special teams.

C.J. Reavis, DB, 6-1, 205 , Chester, Va., (via East Mississippi CC) (enrolled)

A bigger, more mature player, Coach Goebbel compared him to Ashton Hall.

Brandon Rodgers, WR, 5-10, 173, Prichard, Ala.

The one MU wrenched away from Southern Miss, he is the prototype slot receiver with speed — 10.75 in 100-meter dash (.44 faster than West Virginia AAA champ).

Alex Salguero, OL, 6-3, 310, Bradenton, Fla.

Helped Braden River to Class 7A state semis; perhaps the most physically advanced of the five OL recruits.

Sir Patrick Scott, DB, 6-1, 170, Upper Marlboro, Md.

Formerly committed to Michigan, he had 16 pass breakups and allowed only 8 completions. There’s a ratio you don’t find in the college game.

Will Ulmer, OL, 6-5, 285, Richmond, Ky.

Three stars by ESPN.com. In honor of the late Phil Ratliff, the Herd could always use a Kentucky Headhunter. Earmarked as a tackle, beginning on the right side.

Pro Wells , TE, 6-5, 210, Kenneth City, Fla.

He plays played football for one year. That’s not a bad thing if you have his basketball background. He led state of Florida in tight end yardage.

Jaquan Yulee, LB, 6-1, 246, Chesapeake, Va.

No. 207 on ESPN 300, had 115 tackles, 12 forced fumbles and 10 sacks for 11-3 Indian River. Filthy, filthy credentials. Coach J.C. Price, who patrols Virginia on the recruiting trail, never let up on this guy. … Price: “I don’t know if we’ve had somebody come in the door as polished and big as he his.”

Statement from Mike Hamrick

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Released just before 1:30 p.m.:

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University Director of Athletics Mike Hamrick released a statement on the basketball series between the Thundering Herd and West Virginia University, Thursday.

The game, dubbed the Capital Classic, has been played at the Charleston Civic Center on an annual basis for 25 years, since the 1991-92 season.

“The Capital Classic between Marshall and WVU has always been a tremendous game on our schedule for a variety of reasons, most importantly for the passionate basketball fans in the great state of West Virginia,” Hamrick said. “Scheduling is a diligent process for each and every team in the country; it is very strategic in nature. It is our desire to play this game for many years to come as it fits our scheduling philosophy to play a challenging non-conference schedule.”