HUNTINGTON — Marshall head coach Doc Holliday isn't typically known for cracking too many smiles during fall camp while he's getting his team ready for the start of a season.
However, Holliday grinned from ear-to-ear when discussing the performances of his former Marshall players in the 2019 NFL preseason openers over the weekend.
"Hey! How about that, huh," Holliday said of the collective efforts. "Had some guys do big things this weekend."
The player who became the biggest NFL headline of the weekend was former Marshall kicker Kaare Vedvik, who parlayed a 4-for-4 performance in field goals with a pair of punts of 53 and 58 yards into a new venue as the Baltimore Ravens traded him to the Minnesota
Vikings for a fifth-round pick — the highest draft pick brought about by a kicker since 1996.
While Vedvik was in the spotlight, several other Marshall players showed exactly what they could do, as well.
Across the field from Vedvik on Thursday night was a pair of Vedvik's former teammates — safety C.J. Reavis and wide receiver Tyre Brady, who play for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Reavis, who is in his second year with the Jaguars, led the Jacksonville defense with eight tackles — one of which drew praise nationwide as he stoned a running play short of the line to gain for a first down with a big hit.
Brady has been a constant playmaker in preseason practices, according to the Jaguars' social media accounts, but did not record a catch in two targets on Thursday.
On Saturday, former Marshall quarterback Chase Litton started his second preseason with the Kansas City Chiefs in impressive fashion, finishing 11 of 15 for 122 yards and two touchdowns with one interception in the Chiefs' 38-17 win over the Bengals.
Litton connected on touchdown passes of 29 yards to Darwin Thompson and 14 yards to Deon Yelder - his former Conference USA rival at Western Kentucky.
Currently, Litton is in a battle with Chad Henne and Kyle Shurmur for the Chiefs' backup quarterback spot to Patrick Mahomes.
Another player who stood out on Thursday night was Washington Redskins defensive lineman Ryan Bee, who was one of the team's few bright spots in a 30-10 loss to the Browns. Bee got plenty of run on Thursday and made the most of it, finishing third on the team in tackles with five while registering a sack at the end of the first half. He also had two quarterback hits in the game, which led the Redskins in that department.
A pair of former Marshall teammates also took the field for the New York Jets in the preseason opener — albeit in limited snaps.
Former Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year Neville Hewitt recorded a tackle and recovered a fumble while joining defensive back Darryl Roberts as members of the Jets' defensive unit in a 31-22 loss to the Giants.
Other players who saw action over the weekend included New England Patriots safety Malik Gant and Dallas Cowboys fullback/tight end Ryan Yurachek. Holliday said the influx of talent that is seeing success at the next level shows the success level of the program.
"Our guys get overlooked sometimes," Holliday said. "We've got a lot of guys who are playing that left here as free agents. Darryl Roberts is starting for the Jets and Neville is playing for them, and how about Vedvik? What a great story that is. He's going to get paid now going to the Vikings. Ryan Bee played tremendous, C.J. Reavis did extremely well, Chase Litton played well, Brady, all of them. We're just proud of them."
Holliday added that there is a resonating value to that success, which could be seen in the first few days of Marshall's 2019 camp. There have been a steady stream of NFL scouts visit practices.
"We've had three or four guys here every day," Holliday said. "I think they may be looking around the league and saying, 'We're missing on some Marshall guys. They've got some guys out there that could've been drafted and weren't.' We've got a ton of guys who are playing well and they are going to represent our university extremely well. I'm proud of those guys."