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Chuck Landon: Doc's the real deal

Jan. 26, 2010 @ 08:25 AM

Doc Holliday has lived up to his reputation.

Before he signed on as Marshall’s new head football coach, Holliday was billed as an outstanding recruiter.

Since then?

Holliday hasn’t just solidified that reputation, he has taken it to the next level.

One word of recruiting jargon says it all.

De-commit.

So far, prospects have de-committed from such BCS schools as West Virginia University, Mississippi State, Louisville and Wake Forest and given Marshall verbal commitments.

When has that ever happened at Marshall?

Never.

But now it is occurring, thanks to Holliday.

So, what is it about Doc? What makes him special? Why do some of the most highly rated recruits in the country react to Holliday as though he were a Pied Piper?

“I liked his mind-set,” said Darius Millines, who de-committed from WVU to give Holliday a verbal. “He played a big role in my decision. Me and him and Coach (JaJuan) Seider started building a relationship last spring.”

That’s important.

After all, Millines is trusting Holliday with the next four or five years of his life.

“That’s right,” said Millines, during a telephone interview from his home in Delray Beach, Fla. “I’m going with who I trust the most. And that’s Coach Holliday.

“He can build a relationship with you.”

That’s not just slick recruiting sales talk, either. Holliday walks the recruiting walk.

Just ask Millines.

“When I went on my official visit to West Virginia University, I didn’t go to Coach (Bill) Stewart’s office,” said the highly regarded wide receiver. “I wasn’t in Coach Stewart’s house. I didn’t meet the president of the university.

“But at Marshall, I ate dinner in Coach Holliday’s house. And I did meet the president.

“That speaks volumes.”

Yes, it does.

It explains why three- and four-star rated recruits are backing out of commitments to BCS programs to join Holliday at Marshall.

People say Doc could have sold Michael Jackson another glove.

But it’s not just about salesmanship. Or being glib. It’s about substance.

And that’s what really makes Doc Holliday an ace recruiter.

He’s the real deal.

Two members of Marshall’s recruiting class already have enrolled.

Trevor Black, 6-foot-4, 200-pound linebacker from Chatham, Va., by way of Hargrave Military Academy, and James Power, 6-4, 225-pound long-snapper/tight end from Myrtle Beach, S.C., are attending classes and will participate in spring practice.

The Herd’s current commitment list stands at 18. … and counting.

That doesn’t include Raheem Waiters, who was the first commitment for the Class of 2010. The 6-2, 188-pound wide receiver from Riverside High School in Quincy, W.Va., suffered a serious knee injury last October and will be grey-shirted.

Besides tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, Waiters reportedly had to undergo reconstructive surgery.

His enrollment date is now January 2011.

Also, defensive end Darien Moody, who committed to Marshall’s previous coaching staff on Nov. 15, isn’t expected to remain a member of the class.

So, how many scholarships does that leave available?

“I can go to 25,” said Holliday, referring to the NCAA-mandated limit. “I don’t know if we’ll go that many or not.”

It depends on how many quality recruits are available. And don’t forget about academic non-qualifiers. Holliday plans to take three or four.

But, remember, he got three additional scholarships when Darius Marshall, Jake Laudenslayer and Corey Hart left the program.

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




 

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