HUNTINGTON — When Marshall running back Brenden Knox starts his professional career, he will know at least one blocker in front of him during workouts and practice.
Shortly after the completion of the 2021 NFL Draft, Knox signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys, reuniting him with former Herd offensive tackle Josh Ball, who was taken by the Cowboys in the fourth round on Saturday.
Last season, Knox led the Marshall rushing attack with 887 yards and nine touchdowns in nine games.
The Herd’s stalwart at running back over the last three years, Knox rushed for 2,852 yards and 24 touchdowns during his career. The 2,852 yards left him in seventh place in Marshall’s career marks while the 24 rushing touchdowns are 13th most in Marshall history.
In 2019, Knox was the Conference USA Most Valuable Player after a season in which he rushed for 1,387 yards and 11 touchdowns.
He was a two-time All-Conference USA First Team selection after also being selected in 2020.
Knox was one of several Marshall players to sign UDFA contracts once the draft completed on Saturday evening.
Linebacker Tavante Beckett, the 2020 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, signed a contract with the Detroit Lions.
The 5-foot-10, 214-pound Chesapeake, Virginia, product may have been undrafted due to his size, but production has never been an issue for Beckett.
In two years as a starting linebacker for the Herd, Beckett compiled 211 tackles, including 14.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
Beckett also had a nose for the football, collecting six fumble recoveries and forcing four fumbles while also having one interception.
Three of those fumble recoveries came in last season’s win at Western Kentucky, including one that was returned for a touchdown.
In 2020, Beckett was deemed a Second-Team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America after a year in which he had 90 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and 2.5 sacks.
Despite the questions about his size, Beckett was one of the Herd’s most durable players, starting all 22 contests for the Herd in which he was available.
Beckett was joined in signing contracts by a pair of fellow defensive teammates.
Defensive end Darius Hodge signed a UDFA deal with the Cincinnati Bengals while defensive back Jaylon McClain-Sapp signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Hodge finished with 63 tackles off the edge in 2020 and led Marshall with 9.0 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. In his career, Hodge had 20.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks as a primary disruptor for the Herd.
McClain-Sapp was one of Marshall’s most tenured players, seeing action in 38 games while with the Herd. In his career, he had 67 tackles, 16 pass breakups and two interceptions.