Marshall football: Former Penn State receiver is eligible
HUNTINGTON - The Marshall football team welcomed its second Penn State transfer Thursday, one that should bring another injection of speed to the offense.
Devon Smith, a 5-foot-7, 147-pound wideout, is immediately eligible and has two years to play one.
"He's a tremendous young guy," Head Coach Doc Holliday said. "He's a really talented guy. He's got great speed, one of the fastest kids in the country."
Smith, originally from White Plains, Md., was the 2009 Nike indoor national champion in the 60-meter dash, running it in 6.63 seconds. He also was a Maryland high school state champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes for Westlake High.
When that speed will hit the playing field is up for discussion. With three seniors - Aaron Dobson, Andre Booker and Antavious Wilson - at wide receiver, Smith has the option to redshirt.
"There's a possibility," Holliday said. "He's got two to play one, so we'll see how it goes at this point. But he's a talented guy and we're glad he's on our side."
Smith, who practices sans shoulder pads and is wearing No. 33, left Penn State for personal reasons in June, said Penn State Coach Bill O'Brien. He was third on the team with 25 catches for 402 yards and two touchdowns in 2011 and was a projected starter in the spring.
Smith was arrested March 14 on misdemeanor charges of marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession. He applied for the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, designed to keep first-time offenders from entering the criminal justice system. Holliday said Smith's legal issues have been cleared up.
Smith joined fellow Penn State transfer corner Derrick Thomas, who started practicing Aug. 9 and already has played significant time with the first-team defense.
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PUNTER TYLER Williams had another standout practice, nailing four straight 50-plus-yard punts.
"For the last three or four days, he's been extremely consistent and really good," Holliday said. "If he continues to do it, we'll be fine."
Williams, a freshman from Fort Wayne, Ind., said that consistency comes from solid performances from the entire punt team.
"The special teams are coming together," he said. "Everything's going good, which gives me more confidence to kick the ball. I'm getting a good snap and good block, which makes me feel secure back there."
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FRESHMAN defensive lineman Steve Dillon limped off the field during Thursday's practice, though Holliday said he should be fine. It allowed redshirt sophomore and South Charleston High graduate Blake Brooks more time on the field. With junior Brandon Sparrow also out of practice tending to a family issue, Holliday said Brooks has done well to fortify what has been a thinner line the last couple of practices.
"He's done a nice job," Holliday said of the 6-foot-1, 305-pound Brooks. "We've asked him to get his weight down and he's done that. He's a strong, young guy that works hard."
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MARSHALL'S home-and-home series with Navy has been moved from 2016 and 2018 to 2021 and 2022, the university confirmed Thursday. The Thundering Herd was scheduled to visit Annapolis, Md. in 2016 and host the Midshipmen in 2018, but Navy's entrance into the Big East for football had forced the school to revamp its future schedules to accommodate conference play.
Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick spoke with Navy AD Chet Gladchuk and was able to keep the series alive, but at a later date. Marshall will visit Navy in 2021 and Navy comes to Huntington in 2022.
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THE AGREEMENT between Marshall/IMG Sports and WCHS/WVAH-TV was officially announced Thursday. Under the two-year deal, WCHS/WVAH will carry select live broadcasts of Marshall football and men's basketball games, and WVAH will carry the men's basketball and football coaches' shows. Mark Martin, the color analyst on Marshall's football radio broadcasts, will host the shows.
WSAZ had been the local TV home for Marshall football and men's basketball, but according to a source close to the negotiations, WCHS/WVAH "significantly" outbid WSAZ for the rights.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall.