The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON - Marshall fans are mourning the loss of one of the team's top all-time offensive linemen.

Chris Deaton, a Marshall Hall of Fame inductee in 2015, passed away on Saturday at the age of 48.

The Paintsville, Kentucky, native and Coal Grove, Ohio, resident started 56 consecutive games at offensive tackle for Marshall from 1990-93.

During his time with the Thundering Herd, Deaton was part of Marshall's first I-AA National Championship in 1992 while also being a key member of the teams in 1991 and 1993 that finished as the I-AA runners-up.

In 1993, Deaton won the Jacobs Blocking Award as the top offensive lineman in the Southern Conference and was also named as a first-team All-American by The Associated Press and Sports Network.

He was a four-time all-Southern Conference performer, making the second team as a freshman and sophomore before being a first-teamer as a junior and senior.

Deaton and the late Phil Ratliff, a Louisa, Kentucky, native, were known as "The Kentucky Headhunters" for their blocking ability along the right side of Marshall's offensive line. Like Deaton, Ratliff was also a Marshall Hall of Famer prior to his passing at the age of 44 in 2015.

Aaron Ferguson, who was also a Hall of Famer on the offensive line with Deaton and Ratliff, shared this thought on Facebook after news broke of Deaton's passing.

"Deaton, you will be missed! Give Phil a hug from all his Herd brothers! I'm sure y'all are already cutting up just like old times. The Kentucky Headhunters are back together again! Sad day for Herd Nation."

Deaton's 56 starts tied him with Ferguson for the most starts in Marshall history.

During his four-year career, Marshall went 40-16.


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