HUNTINGTON - There's an old coaching adage that says if a player does the right things in the offseason, good things happen to him once the season starts.
Corey Neely is starting to become living proof of that for Marshall's football team.
The former junior college transfer from Georgia Military College was relatively quiet during his first year with the Herd in 2015, but exploded on the scene in the offseason and has ridden the momentum into camp.
In the offseason, Neely was named the Herd's defensive "Beast of Summer" - an accolade bestowed on a player who makes the most gains and puts forth the most work in the weight room during the summertime.
That work paid off on Saturday evening when Neely, who was running with the first-team as a safety, intercepted Marshall quarterback Chase Litton and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown.
Neely said that his mindset coming into 2016 has really helped him.
"You never know if you're going to get another chance, so you've got to do everything right - everything," Neely said. "I don't want to hold anything back because this is my last chance. I've just got to keep going hard every day."
Marshall head coach Doc Holliday says all the time that his seniors have to play their best football in that year, and Neely is doing just that. In addition to his interception, he also broke up another pass during Saturday's action.
Neely's commitment to excellence is one of the reasons that Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater keeps calling on the 6-foot-1, 187-pound native of Rock Hill, South Carolina., for first-team repetitions.
"He's done a great job all camp," Heater said. "He's come back and determined to be a better player. He committed himself and had a great winter conditioning. When you're a senior, the clock is ticking. Whatever you want to make of your career, it's now or never. He's certainly approaching it that way and he's improved himself...
"He rolled with the ones today and did a nice job, so good for him, good for us."
HERD HEADED TO CHURCH: Marshall's entire football team and staff will attend Sharon Baptist Church in Ironton on Sunday morning.
It has become an annual tradition that the Herd attends the church of team chaplain Steve Harvey, who is pastor of Sharon Baptist, before engaging in a post-service meal with the congregation.
JOHNSON PUT ON IR BY CAROLINA: Injuries have sidelined former Marshall running back Devon Johnson for the time being.
Johnson, who missed much of the 2015 season with back injuries, was placed on the waived/injured list by the Carolina Panthers on Friday due to a back injury.
According to reports, Johnson cleared waivers on Friday and was moved to Carolina's injured reserve list.
Johnson signed a three-year, $1.62 million contract with the Panthers in May as an undrafted free agent. He also received a $20,000 signing bonus, which is a large amount for an undrafted rookie free agent.
Johnson is scheduled to make his base salary of $450,000 this season.
YOUNG JOINS HERD: Marshall had a new player out on the field on Friday.
Linebacker Juwon Young joined Marshall after leaving the University of Miami.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound linebacker from Albany, Ga., had 57 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble in 10 games last season, but was not expected to play for Miami in 2016, pending an internal investigation by the university into several players, including Young, receiving improper benefits, which included luxury car rentals, according to the Miami Herald.
Per NCAA transfer rules, Young has to sit out the 2016 season.
HUSKEY AT HAMPTON: Former Marshall linebacker Raheim Huskey has landed at Hampton University.
Huskey was one of nine FBS transfers that Hampton head coach Connell Maynor brought in for the 2016 season. Huskey will be eligible to play immediately after moving down in classification.
On July 25, Marshall dismissed Huskey from the program for a "violation of team rules and policies."
Huskey had been suspended in Oct. 2015 for a similar violation, but had returned in the spring and was battling for time at linebacker.
Grant Traylor covers Marshall football for The Herald-Dispatch. He can be reached by E-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (304) 526-2860. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).