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Shaver will walk on at Marshall

Feb. 27, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- For a ceremony, it was a bit informal, but Mark Shaver was still beaming when he picked up a Marshall University cap and placed it on his head in Huntington High School's library Tuesday afternoon.

Shaver, the starting quarterback for the Highlanders during their resurgence as a football power over the past two seasons, signed a letter of commitment, meaning he will join the Marshall Thundering Herd football team as a walk-on for the 2013 season.

"I feel like this is a great opportunity," Shaver said. "There's nothing better than playing in front of my town and being a part of the team that I've been watching since I was barely able to walk, it's just amazing."

With Shaver under center, the Highlanders went 8-4 in 2011 and 9-3, along with being rated No. 1 in West Virginia Class AAA football for a time, in 2012.

Highlanders coach Billy Seals said Shaver holds the second-highest completion percentage in program history, and is also second in touchdown passes and passing yards.

"He's definitely been very important to our program the past four years," Seals said. "He's been very instrumental to us getting this program turned around.

"It's a huge accomplishment for him to get to play college football, and get a college degree, which is the most important thing."

Shaver is the second Highlanders football player to sign with a school in as many weeks.

Last week, Jarod Martin signed a national letter of intent to play for West Virginia State University in Institute.

Martin finished the 2012 season second in receiving yards and second in sacks for Huntington High.

Shaver and Martin have a close friendship, and Shaver said he was very happy for his teammate.

"He signed, and we've got some other kids looking to sign from Huntington High, that's just amazing," Shaver said.

Seals said he expects at least three other players -- Tony Kitts, Torrey Baker and Payton Johnson -- to sign letters of intent in the coming weeks.

"I think people around us are realizing we've got a really good program here, we've got kids who can play at the next level," he said. "If all those things come true, we're going to have five guys out of nine seniors deciding to play college football. It's a very successful class for us and they've all been crucial in turning things around here."

Shaver will join the Marshall program with the "athlete" tag on him, meaning he'll play wherever the Herd coaches think they can best use him. Shaver said he's OK with that.

"I'm really just going in there with an open mind," he said. "I'm willing to play wherever I've got the best shot of getting on the field as early as I can."