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Murray eager to join Marshall

MU football
Feb. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Originally from Orlando's Lyman High School, cornerback Lakeith Murray had traveled to Ventura College in California for junior college where he starred and drew the interest of several schools.

After meeting with Marshall University assistant coach Todd Hartley and speaking with head coach Doc Holliday, Murray was sold on the Thundering Herd as the team for him.

He committed Jan. 12 to the Herd, well before visiting campus last weekend. National Signing Day is Wednesday, Feb. 6.

As the Florida-turned-California defensive back prospect got ready for his visit to West Virginia, he admitted he had no clue what to expect.

That included the weather once he landed.

"That was the first time I'd ever seen snow," Murray joked after finally landing in Huntington. "I actually thought it'd be way colder than that. It was nice actually -- wasn't too cold at all."

Just like the weather in the town, Huntington itself is a change for Murray, but it's one he's welcoming with open arms.

Marshall didn't begin recruiting Murray until December -- long after many other schools had gotten involved with the leader in interceptions for Ventura College.

From day one, however, Murray said he took note of what has made Holliday a star in the recruiting circles for 35 years.

"We built a nice little relationship fast and it seemed like the perfect fit," Murray said. "He understands and he's got a lot of experience. He knows the selling points that fits your needs. He's bringing in a great class this year."

While Holliday and Hartley were pivotal in the recruiting process, Murray said it was the youth of the team and the words of other potential signees that really got him excited.

"The team they have with (Rakeem) Cato and (Tommy) Shuler, it's exciting man," Murray said. "The youth that they have is amazing. To put up the numbers that they put up is amazing. It's a shootout and it comes down to stopping somebody.

"I've made a couple of game-saving plays in my career. I pride myself in making the plays when my team needs me the most. I plan on doing that at Marshall."

Murray said Marshall's reputation in Florida is so big that when other recruits talk, words about the Herd always come up.

"In Florida, high school football is big so if you hear about somebody, you'll look them up or see them at a camp or something and keep in touch," Murray said. "Me and Taj (safety Taj Letman, a fellow verbal commit) have been friends on Facebook since November. I knew him before I got there and once he heard I was thinking about Marshall, he started talking to me about it.

"I also know (Marshall safety) Andre Scott, too, and have heard of (Marshall wide receiver and January enrollee) Angelo Jean-Louis. The Herd is bringing in some players now."

One of the best aspects to the commitment for Murray was that the Herd will consistently play in his home state of Florida, including twice next season.

"My Mom hasn't seen me play since high school where I've been in California, so it's going to be nice," Murray said. "I'll probably have 40-plus family members there."

Just as Murray was recruited by other players who had already committed to the Herd, he did his own bit of recruiting for Holliday while on his visit last weekend.

Murray was joined on his visit by Shykeem Pitts and Tony Pittman.

By the end of the visit, Murray had helped Holliday and staff convince both to commit.

"I was telling those guys, if we can get you here, we can do something special in Conference USA," Murray said.

Pitts, his roommate on the visit, committed Saturday morning and Pittman committed by the end of the visit.

Murray said the biggest clincher for the trio was a trip to the cemetery where some of the fallen members of the 1970 Marshall football are laid to rest.

Certainly, many schools don't include a visit to a cemetery as part of the recruiting pitch, but it's a part of what makes Marshall different from other places.

Murray said that was instantly seen for all the visitors.

"Coming here, none of us really knew too much about Marshall," Murray said. "A couple of us had seen the movie ("We Are Marshall"), but we didn't know much beyond Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich.

"The visit to the cemetery showed us what it's about here. The community rallies behind this team and being there, it made me feel like part of the family.

"It was different. It was real. It wasn't just Hollywood," he said. "This actually happened to a football team. The community was hurt.

"When I play there, it will be for them."

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