Chuck Landon: Marshall is smart to avoid Dyer
Marshall isn't interested in troubled running Michael Dyer.
"No one at Marshall has spoken to him," said MU athletic director Mike Hamrick.
Altogether now ... group sigh of relief.
Hamrick denied reports by ESPN.com's Joe Schad that Marshall and UAB were on the former Auburn star's short list or that MU had shown interest in Dyer.
That qualifies as good news.
With the Herd poised to have a break-through season with at least eight or nine wins, the football program simply doesn't need that potential headache.
And, for the most part, Herald-Dispatch readers responding to my Sunday column agreed with that philosophy.
Sure, Dyer has the potential to put the Herd over the top. But his considerable baggage also indicates he has the potential to be a divisive problem.
Marshall is smart to steer clear of Dyer.
If the Herd is interested in rolling the dice, it should look to South Florida instead. That's where four key members of the Miami Hurricanes' recruiting class haven't been able to enroll due to academic standards.
Three of the four are precisely what Marshall needs ... combo defensive ends who are pass-rush specialists.
"Four key pieces to this class aren't (in Miami)," wrote Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald newspaper, "because they have not qualified academically: highly-regarded tight end/receiver/basketball player Derrick Griffin and three defensive players needed to bolster a shaky pass rush: Defensive end Alquadin Muhammad, end/tackle Ufomba Kamalu and end/linebacker Devante Bond.
"A UM official said Tuesday (July 2) that though it's still possible Griffin might qualify, it's not looking promising and he still has a lot of ground to make up academically. Muhammad and Kamalu also are in jeopardy --- their former coaches declined to discuss their predicament --- and an academic official at Bond's school said on the record that it's very much unclear if he will make it to UM this year."
All four recruits were expected to be impact players for the Hurricanes this season. Griffin and Muhammad were both ranked among ESPN's list of the top 150 recruits and were regarded as two of the top three talents in Miami's class. Kamalu is a junior college transfer, who was rated among ESPN's top 100 jucos.
Any of the trio of defensive ends would be a welcome addition to the Herd's pass-rush challenged defense. That is the biggest deficiency on the entire team. And it showed last season.
Marshall's dismal 2012 defense ranked only No. 87 in sacks with just 19 in NCAA statistics. That wasn't as bad as Miami, which was No. 113 (out of 120) with only 13 sacks.
The difference is Miami thought it had fixed the problem with these three highly regarded recruits. Marshall, however, wasn't able to correct the shortcoming. Creating a pass rush from the edge remains the No. 1 concern for new defensive coordinator Chuck Heater.
So, rolling the dice on one of these defensive ends would make sense for Marshall.
GILLEY NAILED IT: Some members of Marshall's faculty must have hated every word of former MU president Wade Gilley's guest column in Saturday editions of The Herald-Dispatch.
That's because the astute Gilley said everything the anti-athletics faction of the faculty didn't want to hear.
Check and mate.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or email@example.com.
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