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Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

Here are the opinions du jour.

The process of hiring a replacement for departed Marshall University head football coach Doc Holliday is taking some curious turns.

Interviews are supposed to take place this week virtually with six candidates on the list. Ah, yes, the list. That’s where this search takes a decided lean to the unusual.

Let’s start with the front-runner.

It appears to be University of Alabama associate head coach and running backs coach Charles Huff. The 37-year-old native of Denton, Maryland (located in the vicinity of Baltimore and Washington, D.C.) has gained the reputation of being one of the top recruiters in college football.

He was rather busy Monday night, coaching against Ohio State in the national championship game, but Huff is expected to be interviewed at some point this week.

As a player, Huff walked on at Hampton University, but ended up as the starting center as a junior and team captain his senior year.

That’s when Huff’s coaching journey began. He worked for the University of Maryland, Hampton, Vanderbilt, the NFL Buffalo Bills, Western Michigan, Penn State, Mississippi State and Alabama the past two year.

Huff’s coaching influences include James Franklin, P.J. Fleck and, of course, West Virginia native Nick Saban.

As a recruiter, Huff played a crucial role in the recruiting and development of New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley at Penn State. In fact, he has coached seven 1,000-yard rushers in his career.

Marshall isn’t the only school interested in Huff, either. According to reports, South Alabama also has him on their short list of prospective head coaches.

It isn’t difficult to see why.

Huff’s reputation as a recruiter has grown to the point 247 Sports ranked him No. 1 nationally in the recruiting rankings for the 2021 class.

Next up?

Thundering Herd defensive coordinator Brad Lambert. MU athletic director Mike Hamrick, who is the head of the search committee, is believed to be a strong advocate of Lambert.

Completing the trio, which are expected to receive in-person interviews, is former Marshall standout tight end Mike Bartrum. The native of Pomeroy, Ohio, starred for MU in 1991 and ’92 before starting a 13-year career in the NFL — spent mostly with the Philadelphia Eagles — as one of the best long-snappers of his era.

Bartrum currently is the assistant tight end for the Eagles.

Then, there are three more candidates, who are expected to get interviews.

One of the trio is Ricky Brumfield, who is the University of Virginia’s special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Brumfield also has coached at such other Conference USA schools as UTSA and Western Kentucky. This wouldn’t be his first foray into West Virginia, either. Brumfield was Fairmont State’s special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach in 2004-10 and has family in the Mountain State.

Next, there’s Dwayne Ledford, who is the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Louisville. The East Carolina graduate spent seven years playing in the NFL, then coached at Appalachian State and N.C. State before joining Louisville’s program.

And, finally, there’s a name that should ring a familiar note with Marshall fans. The final prospective candidate is believed to be former MU coach Todd Hartley. He coached safeties at Marshall in 2011-12 and, then, served as recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach in 2013-14.

Hartley has been Georgia’s tight ends coach for 2019-20.

There are names fans expected to see, but didn’t. And there are names fans didn’t expect to see, but did.

Nobody can accuse this job search as being boring.


Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at

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