Marshall football boasts early commitments
So many, so soon.
That's a succinct description of the Marshall football program's 2015 recruiting class.
Just check the calendar.
It's still early July, the 2014 season-opener at Miami (0hio) is still 53 days away and National Signing Day is still 199 days in the distance, yet the Herd has 13 verbal commitments for the Class of '15.
Marshall never has had so many commitments this early in school history.
Not that there's anything wrong with it.
There's a reason it's called a "verbal" commitment.
That means it is non-binding and either Marshall or the recruit can renege.
Yet, there's a trend of prospects wanting to get the recruiting process over before their senior year of high school football begins.
That means these verbal commitments are more meaningful than mere whims.
That gives credence to this list of early recruits.
So, what makes this so compelling?
Marshall's Class of '15 figures to be the smallest recruiting class since Doc Holliday became head coach.
That's due to a combination of factors.
The first factor is the size of Holliday's previous classes. After taking 25 recruits in 2010 - his first class - the next four recruiting classes numbered 29, 30, 29 and 28 in 2014.
That's 141 recruits.
And guess what?
Eighty-some of them are still around. In fact, five members of that first class in 2010 remain on Marshall's roster.
The five redshirt seniors include cornerback Darryl Roberts, wide receiver Demetrius Evans, place-kicker Justin Haig, defensive end Ra'Shawde Myers and defensive lineman Malcolm Strong.
That's also a factor.
Then, there is Marshall's senior class. Although 19 seniors are listed on MU's roster, there might be only 17 or 18 that finish their eligibility during the 2014 season.
For example, linebacker Evan McKelvey is a senior, but is expected to petition the NCAA for another year based on missing a season with a knee injury.
So, there could be as few as 18 open spots on the roster.
Which leads to another factor.
Five of those spots go to academic non-qualifiers, who sat out the 2013-14 school year.
That list includes running back Brandon Byrd, wide receiver Rodney Allen, running back Tony Pittman, cornerback Chocolate Wilson and linebacker Raheim Huskey.
Add those five to the 13 verbals and, suddenly, Marshall is getting short on wiggle room.
Yet, the Herd has added three commitments recently to bring the total to 13.
The trio includes Travis Amey, 5-foot-10, 170-pound wide receiver; Carlos Pickett, 5-11, 185-pound cornerback; and Raylen Elzy, 6-4, 200-pound wide receiver.
Amey is from Leon High School in Tallahassee, Fla. He also was offered scholarships by Georgia Southern,
Old Dominion, South Alabama and South Florida, according to Rivals recruiting service.
Pickett is another product of the Georgia pipeline, hailing from Brunswick.
He had offers from Kent State, Mercer, Troy and Western Kentucky.
Then, there's the intriguing Elzy. After playing in Stephenson High School near Stone Mountain, Ga., in 2013, he plans on attending Atlanta Sports Academy this season.
But besides being a huge wideout, Elzy is an accomplished outfielder in baseball.
A web site dedicated to amateur baseball - "Perfect Game" - lists Florida State, Stanford and Tennessee as having interest.
So, is Marshall's recruiting over?
But it's getting really selective.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at email@example.com.
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