Chuck Landon: MU enjoys best depth so far with Holliday
Day by day, Marshall's football depth chart is taking shape.
So, let's take a look at the two-deep.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE: The line has been consistent throughout preseason camp at Edwards Stadium. Gage Niemeyer is the left tackle; with Sebastian "Swede" Johansson at left guard; Chris Jasperse, at center; Alex Schooler, at right guard; and Garrett Scott, at right tackle.
Rakeem Cato is the quarterback, of course, along with incumbent Gator Hoskins at tight end. But the other skilled positions are a little more fluid.
Although star slot receiver Tommy Shuler is only a weekend away from returning to full-time status, the other wide receivers have changed daily. One practice, Shawney Kersey is the "X," but the next day it's Davonte Allen. And due to Craig Wilkins' tweaked hamstring at the "Z," Demetrius Evans was manning that spot Wednesday.
Meanwhile at running back, Essray Taliaferro is the surprise starter while Kevin Grooms nurses a mild high ankle sprain.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE: Although players rotate in and out during live periods, the starters have been fairly consistent. The ends are Jeremiah Taylor and Alex Bazzie with Brandon Sparrow and Steve Dillon at the tackles.
Since the defense is playing mostly nickel coverage in the secondary, the linebackers have been Jermaine Holmes in the middle and Evan McKelvey at strong-side. The cornerbacks are Darryl Roberts and Monterius Lovett with Corey Tindal at the nickel. D.J. Hunter is at strong safety with Taj Letman at free safety.
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE: The quarterback is Blake Frohnapfel, as expected, with Remi Watson getting the nod at running back and Frohnapfel's twin brother, Eric, at tight end.
The line includes former starting left tackle Jordan Jeffries, who still isn't 100 percent after offseason surgery; Josh Lovell, who has been sidelined but is expected to return Monday, at left guard; Cam Dees, center; Grady Kerr, right guard; and Clint Van Horn, right tackle.
The wideouts during practice on Wednesday were Kersey at the "X," Devin "MooMoo" Smith in the slot and true freshman Justin Hunt at the "Z."
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE: New faces abound. The front includes such first-year players as Arnold Blackmon and Gary Thompson at the ends and man-child Josh Brown at one tackle joined by sophomore Jarquez Samuel.
The linebackers look the same with first-year players Stefan Houston and Kent Turene.
The nickel is true freshman Tiquan Lang with Derrick Thomas and Keith Baxter at the corners. A.J. Leggett is at free safety flanked by strong safety Shawn Samuels.
This is the best depth Marshall has enjoyed during Doc Holliday's tenure as head coach.
NOT HERE YET: Ten members of Marshall's 2013 recruiting class aren't participating in preseason camp. The list includes running back Brandon Byrd, wideout Deontay McManus, running back Tony Pittman, wideout Angelo Jean-Louis, defensive back Shykeem Pitts, cornerback Chocolate Wilson, defensive end Jalen Stevenson, wideout Rodney Allen and linebacker Raheim Husky, who are expected to be academic non-qualifiers. Offensive lineman Gerald Wright appears to be a gray-shirt, who will enroll for the spring semester.
AVAILABLE: Sources say MU is interested in cornerback Donaldven Manning, who recently left Virginia Tech. He was a four-star recruit who played at Miami (Fla.) Central High School with MU's Cato and Shuler.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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