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Chuck Landon: Holliday's recruiting class best in history

Feb. 03, 2011 @ 12:00 AM

Did head coach Doc Holliday fill the Rx for Marshall football on National Signing Day?


Like never before, in fact.

Here is a breakdown on the Herd's Class of 2011.

Major upgrades: 1) Linebackers, 2) running backs.

Marshall signed five linebackers and all might play immediately. The list is headed by Armonze Daniel and Jermaine Holmes, but keep an eye on Robert Way.

At running back, Travon Van will be joined by Remi Watson, Steward Butler and Allan Wasonga. Who needs Chevelle Buie? His highlight video was second to one. ... Butler's.

Five most talented recruits:

No. 1 Jamar Lewter -- The 6-foot-8, 280-pound behemoth was ranked as the No. 35 offensive tackle in the nation for a reason. His highlights resemble footage from the movie, "The Blind Side."

No. 2 Daniel -- He belongs in a BCS league, which is precisely where most of his offers were from.

No. 3 Keith Baxter -- This cornerback already has an NFL body and ran the second-fastest 100 meters in Florida.

No. 4 Butler -- The 5-10, 170-pounder rushed for 3,043 yards. In his career? No, last season. It was the third-highest in Florida history. He also scored 31 touchdowns and averaged 12 yards per carry.

No. 5 Terry Franklin -- The 6-4, 235-pound defensive end was once an Oklahoma commitment. Imagine a more athletic version of former UCF star Bruce Miller.

Five impact recruits:

No. 1 Franklin -- He and Vinny Curry will make nice bookends.

No. 2 Colin Munro -- The 6-5, 310-pound juco offensive tackle's final choice was between MU and WVU. Score another coup for Doc.

No. 3 Daniel -- He will step right into Mario Harvey's vacancy.

No. 4 Holmes -- Don't be surprised if this very heavy hitter is the starting middle linebacker next season.

No. 5 Baxter -- Cornerback was a weakness last season. Not anymore.

Biggest steal: Baxter. Despite his size, physique, speed and ability he didn't have that many offers. Why? Because he committed to the Herd so early and was a second-generation Marshall guy, so other schools didn't bother.

Best finds: Franklin and Chris Alston.

Franklin played at Hinds Community College in Mississippi, but transferred to Tyler Junior College in Texas to graduate. So, recruiters literally couldn't find him. Except for Marshall's Fred Tate.

Alston, a breath-taking wideout from South Carolina, flew under the recruiting radar and Marshall played it close to the vest after Phil Ratliff found him.

Most BCS offers:

No. 1 Lewter (14) -- Auburn, Southern Cal, Miami (Fla.), Pitt, UCLA, North Carolina, N.C. State, Cincinnati, Clemson, Illinois, Rutgers, Maryland, Wake Forest, New Mexico.

No. 2 Craig Wilkins (8) -- Miami (Fla.), Ole Miss, Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Duke, Vanderbilt.

No. 3 Davonte Allen (6) -- WVU, Miami (Fla.), South Florida, Kansas, Iowa State, Rutgers.

No. 4 Butler (6) -- Arizona State, WVU, Boston College, South Florida, Cincinnati, Rutgers.

No. 5 Daniel (5) -- Iowa, Purdue, Iowa State, Illinois, Indiana.

Best sleeper: Alston. He averaged 27.5 yards per touch last season.

Still coming: Beckley offensive tackle Clinton Van Horn, Parkersburg running back Allen Wasonga and tight end Rakim Reed signed letters of commitment rather than letters of intent. That allows them to go on scholarship for the spring semester 2012.

Overall, it's the best class in Marshall history, but according to Rivals.com, it ranks third in Conference USA and behind WVU.

So, Doc still has something to shoot for.

Chuck Landon is a columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Call him at 304-526-2827. E-mail him at clandon@herald- dispatch.com.



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