Coach Charles Huff’s second spring practice begins on Monday
By Bill Cornwell
The footballs will be out in Huntington on Monday afternoon as Marshall holds the first of its 14 spring practice sessions with plenty of personnel questions to be decided.
Spring drills are scheduled to end with an April 23rd spring game, but the site of that game has not been determined due to the scheduled installation of a new artificial surface at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Head Coach Charles Huff led Marshall to a 7-6 record in his first season, 5-3 in Conference USA. The Herd lost 3 of its last 4 games in 2021, including a 36-21 defeat at the hands of Louisiana in R and L Carriers New Orleans Bowl.
The search for a new quarterback will get plenty of attention this spring. Two-year starter Grant Wells transferred to Virginia Tech at the end of last season, meaning no player with an MU start remains in the quarterback room. Three quarterbacks return from the 2021 season, all redshirt freshmen–Cam Fancher, Ty Tarpley, Seth Smith, and Cade Cunningham. Two highly-regarded recruits–true freshmen Chase Harrison and Peter Zamora–are also in camp. Marshall also expects Texas Tech transfer quarterback Henry Colombi to be in the mix for playing time this fall.
Marshall returns major contributors in its receiving corps, including junior Corey Gammage, last year’s leader in catches and yards. Other returnees include speedy juniors Talik Keaton and Shadeed Ahmed and redshirt sophomore, Jayden Harrison. Stone Scarcelle is back for a sixth season. Youngsters looking to impress the coaching staff include Caleb McMillian, Bryan Robinson, Charles Montgomery, and E.J. Horton.
Two tight ends who saw plenty of 2021 playing time for Marshall are back for another year–Amir Richardson and Devin Miller. Junior College transfers Hayden Hagler and Marcus Velez are also competing for game action.
Huff is looking forward to another year from his deep corps of running backs, led by sophomore Rasheen Ali, who ran for 23 touchdowns and 1,401 yards in 2021. Ali is also a pass-catching weapon, with 46 catches for 342 yards and a touchdown last fall. Ali has solid back-ups in hard-running Ethan Payne and Lawrence Papillon along with Florida State transfer Khalan Laborn, who was a 5-star recruit at the time he signed with the Seminoles. He rushed for 297 yards and four touchdowns in 2019 at FSU.
Marshall’s offensive line is a place where rebuilding will be required as the only returnees with much experience are Kendrick Sarter, Ethan Driskell, and Dalton Tucker. Two transfers likely to get a chance to play are Trent Holler from East Carolina and Steven Faucheux from Purdue.
Defensive line play was a strength for the Herd in 2021 and experience returns in the form of Owen Porter, Tyqaze Leggs, Sam Burton, Elijah Alston, and Emmanuel Bush. Two transfers who will contribute are Isaiah Gibson from Kentucky and Purdue’s Anthony Watts.
Four key returnees strengthen Marshall’s linebacking corps–Charlie Gray, Abraham Beauplan, Eli Neal, and J’Coryan Anderson. Several youngsters will be competing for playing time in the fall behind the veterans.
There is strength in the defensive backfield as Micah Abraham, Steven Gilmore, Joshua Bowers, and Daytione Smith have plenty of game experience.
The Herd will have a new kicker and punter this year. Morgantown’s John McConnell is the only punter on the roster, while Kenyon Bowyer and Sean Meisler for placekicking duties.
Marshall begins its 2021 season on September 3rd with a home game against Norfolk State, followed by a September 10th trip to face Notre Dame.