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Chuck Landon: Marshall construction encourages Herd fans

Apr. 18, 2013 @ 12:30 AM

It's just a month away.

Imagine that after waiting all these years.

But in about only 30 days after Marshall's Board of Governors rubber stamps its approval at a meeting Thursday, construction of the long-awaited indoor practice facility actually will begin.

Who says dreams don't come true?

Well, me for one.

This much-discussed project has been the subject of drawing boards and conjecture for so many years, I admit to crossing the IPF off my list of expectations.

I never have been happier to be wrong.

Now, that J&H Reinforcing & Structural Erectors from Portsmouth, Ohio, made a low-base bid of $16.35 million ($50,000 under budget) during a meeting at 3 p.m. Wednesday, the project has taken a definitive step toward reality.

Why, the utilities already have been moved on-site, so the construction company literally can hit the ground running.

"This will be a big-time facility," promises Mike Hamrick, Marshall's athletic director.

The new indoor practice facility also is expected to be constructed with expediency. Probably along the same lines as the new soccer complex that is rapidly taking shape.

All in all, the current soccer complex project and the soon to be started IPF construction give Thundering Herd fans a good reason to feel encouraged.

Now, all we need is a name for the indoor practice facility.

Hmmm, do I smell an upcoming naming rights fee opportunity for some willing millionaire?

NEW KICKER: There was nothing wrong with Marshall's horrendous kickoff team last season that a place-kicker who consistently could put the ball into the end zone wouldn't fix.

Well, that fix could be on the way.

Florida prep place-kicker Amoreto Curraj has signed a "letter of commitment" to play for Marshall, according to a story in the Tampa Bay Times newspaper.

Curraj, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound kicker with a 4.0 weighted grade point average, booted three field goals for Leto High School in Tampa, Fla., last season including a 47-yarder.

Although those statistics don't exactly blow anyone off the kicking tee, some of Curraj's other accomplishments most certainly do. Apparently, Curraj has been a standout on Florida's statewide kicking combine circuit.

One of those stops was the Sixth Annual Kornblue Kicking Challenge on Dec. 22, 2012, in Fort Lauderdale. The event, which is operated by former University of Michigan kicker Brandon Kornblue, is for kickers, punters and long-snappers.

And Curraj? He set an event record with a 79-yard kickoff. That's right, 79 yards. See why Marshall recruited him?

According to Leto High School coach Matt Kitchie, if Curraj wins a starting job for Marshall in August he will go on scholarship. If not, he will receive a scholarship for the spring semester.

But it appears Curraj should have an excellent job of winning the starting kickoff job. Particularly since Curraj also has a popular YouTube video showing him kicking a 65-yard field goal.

Granted, there was no snapper, no holder and Curraj wasn't wearing pads. But that kick still indicates his considerable leg strength.

That's Marshall's biggest need in the kicking game. The Herd has Justin Haig for field goals, Tyler Williams for punting and Matt Cincotta for long-snapping, but that thunder-footed guy for kickoffs is missing.

It just might be the new kid on the tee. ... Amoreto Corraj.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.



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