Inside Marshall Sports

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A.J. Graham will miss the ECU game, and we heard the phrase “high ankle sprain” dropped from Doc Holliday… He’s still in a boot and will be reevaluated Sunday… Landis Provancha seems doubtful at left guard — in my experience, if they get mentioned at the presser and don’t practice Tuesday, they won’t play.

Demetrius Evans, whom coaches were high on, probably will miss. He got hurt very, very early in the UCF game.

Thoughts on the Graham case

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I’ve been asked about the A.J. Graham case several times during the summer and I always said the same thing: We are a long, long way away from what’s going on in Tallahassee. And I said that before driving to the Florida panhandle myself.

First, it’s about time Coach Snyder caught a break. Second, it becomes more apparent that the MU coaching staff handled this all as well as could be asked.

The severity of the charge dictated that Marshall release Graham from his scholarship. It’s ludicrous to think otherwise.

But Marshall coaches did not turn their back on Graham, and that became clear to me the first time I talked to defense attorney Tim Jansen. John Shannon remained in constant contact with Tallahassee, and I think Graham and his supporters were well aware of that.

So when the most favorable outcome happened, all sides were ready to act. While some fans were probably speculating whether he would bother to show up, I was quickly assured that, yes, he will be here. If he makes it by Sunday, he doesn’t miss much camp.

For all the wild, wild speculation that he will actually play this year, I reiterate: If Snyder and Shannon are going to bet their coaching careers on him, with 4 QBs in camp, he would be THE MAN, something beyond a “Mr. Football.” It will be interesting, however, to see if he can land some meaningful reps later this month.

Back to the case itself, the Tally PD isn’t looking real smooth about now. I know there’s a Herd fan or two there, at least, and I have this question: Do they pull stuff like this often?

Time for practice, folks…

Tallahassee story, which is evolving:

I have talked with his attorney, and here is the current story.

MU press release:

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University Head Football Coach Mark Snyder has issued the following statement based on today’s developments concerning recruit A.J. Graham.
“Based on today’s development, A.J. will have his scholarship reinstated,” Snyder said. “We look forward to having him join our program and put this unfortunate episode behind him.”
Graham, a standout quarterback at Tallahassee’s Godby High School, signed a National Letter of Intent with Marshall on February 4th.

A further update: He is indeed expected to come to Marshall. A Tallahassee TV station wants a live feed to MU media day (which I will miss, BTW).

A.J. Graham update

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The trial of once-upon-a-time Marshall signee A.J. Graham has been set for Oct. 19, the paper in Tallahassee reports today.

That would effectively shoot down his fall semester, which is not surprising. Defense attorney Tim Jansen (whom I am awaiting comment from this afternoon) says he is going to college (didn’t specify where) and planning to play football next year. As you may recall, Jansen says the Tallahassee cops botched the investigation and Graham is a victim of mistaken identity.

If you ever look at the end of the Tallahassee stories, you’ll see their comments are worse than the ones at the end of our stories. By a large margin. (Thank God.)

A.J. Graham defense chimes in

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For Wednesday’s Gazette, I’ll have a story about Graham getting freed on bail, and some extensive quotes from defense attorney Tim Jansen. From what I gather, Jansen may be top-notch among defense attorneys in Tallahassee, and not the random court-appoint attorney an 18-year-old defendant might otherwise get.

If you read this in our early edition, you’ll see where we contacted Jansen to no avail. He returned my call a little past 9 p.m., so we have him in our final edition and on the Internet. Regardless of the merits of the case and the ultimate outcome, it was good to even things up … as you may know, defendants really take it on the chin when they get arrested.

If you’re debating whether Snyder should have pulled Graham’s scholarship … there’s no debate, really. He had to. But know this: I don’t think Marshall coaches have turned their back on Graham. Jansen tells me he is in constant contact with OC/QB coach John Shannon on the case’s particulars. Clearing Graham *and* getting him back in a Marshall scholarship are the defense’s goals.