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Grant Traylor: Cato wins place on Manning Award watch list

Oct. 18, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

The accomplishments of Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato finally have been noticed on the national level.

On Wednesday, Cato was one of 10 quarterbacks added to the Manning Award watch list. The award is presented to the nation's top quarterback.

Cato's numbers from the first half of the season speak for themselves.

He leads the nation in passing yards with 2,311 while also topping all quarterbacks with 218 completions.

His 2,351 yards of total offense ranks third nationally while he is fifth in touchdown passes with 18 through six games.

In spite of the gaudy numbers each week, Cato has yet to earn a Conference USA Offensive Player of the Week award.

He was honored last week by Phil Steele as the midseason All-Conference USA first-team quarterback. In addition to the above numbers, Cato leads C-USA in pass efficiency (147.3) while also completing 69.8 percent of his passes this season.

In just 19 games so far in his Marshall career, Cato already has earned a place among the leaders in Marshall football history.

With a solid performance this weekend, he should reach the top 10 in passes completed, passing yards and touchdown passes.

The winner of the Manning Award will be announced after the bowls in January and will be honored at a banquet in New Orleans.

HERD DEFENDERS RETURN: Marshall defensive lineman Ken Smith and linebacker Billy Mitchell are back in the mix this week after seeing no game action to this point due to injury.

Smith has not practiced until recently due to "an issue," according to Holliday. Mitchell, who has seen experience at the linebacker spot in recent years, was also sidelined due to an undisclosed injury.

"To be able to add those two guys to the mix is going to help us without question," Holliday said.

QB CLUB: Marshall's Quarterback Club will meet at Guyan Golf and Country Club on Thursday.

Doors open at 11:30 a.m., and the event is $15 for non-members and $12 for members.

Marshall football coach Doc Holliday is expected to speak to the group at lunch.

Grant Traylor is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or gtraylor@herald-dispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).

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