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Slate looking to improve

MU football
Jun. 19, 2009 @ 07:36 AM

HUNTINGTON -- For two seasons, Cody Slate headed Marshall University football receivers. The speedy tight end narrowly ranked second behind wideout Darius Passmore in 2008, totaling 40 receptions and 510 yards. He did lead the Thundering Herd with eight touchdown catches, remaining the same confounding matchup since his true freshman arrival.

Among an otherwise unproven receiving corps, Slate is the lone proven. He lead the Thundering Herd in receptions, yards and touchdowns receptions for two seasons. Playmaking wideout Darius Passmore now is gone from the program, likely to sign with a National Football League organization, leaving the onus on the tight-end-wideout hybrid.

At the same time, Slate and defenders such as end Albert McClellan and linebacker Mario Harvey are heading summer workouts. Such sessions kick off at 6 a.m. during the week, and Slate and others make certain that underclassmen and fellow veterans remain on point.

"I'm working on being a leader and making everybody better," Slate said. "We've been watching a lot of film and we've really been learning from our mistakes and looking at what we do well."

"I'm working hard in the weight room and it's not about what I weigh. It's about making me the best player I can be."

Slate has bulked to approximately 227 pounds, but again, weight isn't the issue, Slate said. It's more about balancing the tight end/wideout duties he's filled while earning All-Conference-USA honors.

"We talk more about making plays than my position," Slate said. "I'm still going to have the same role. We talk more about the things in the past, creating mismatches. Again, I think I'll have the same role."

Beyond All-C-USA honors, Slate projects as a legitimate All-American candidate for the 2009 season. His statistics rank well at least among fellow tight ends and his role likely will amplify this year, considering an otherwise unproven receiving group. Slate projects as the Thundering Herd's first All-American since defensive end Johnathan Goddard.

"Being mentioned as a possible All-American is great but I'm just working hard this summer," Slate said. "It's motivation, but I'm working hard to help our team.

Still, as much as targeting All-American honors, Slate is taking on needed leadership roles.

"We have to work hard every day and look at last year," Slate said. "Last year somewhat we were hurt. Still, we're working hard, and the younger guys are pushing me as hard as I'm pushing them."

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