HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- It's not often a school gets two top-10 career receivers on the same roster, but Marshall got that in 2012 with seniors Aaron Dobson and Antavious Wilson. Now the Thundering Herd must work to replace those prolific players.
Marshall's coaches not only have outside receivers as a top priority, but the Herd also wants to add depth to the offensive line by National Signing Day on Feb. 6.
While slot receiver Tommy Shuler became quarterback Rakeem Cato's go-to target this season, Marshall's outside receivers remained vital. They stretched the field to give Shuler room to work underneath and to give Cato deep threats.
Wilson finished seventh in career catches (187), 10th in career yards (2,269) and tied for 10th in career touchdowns (18). Dobson finished ninth in receiving yards (2,398) and tied for fourth in touchdown catches (24).
Marshall already has grabbed a trio of verbal commitments at receiver, the biggest from Angelo Jean-Louis at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. Jean-Louis originally signed with Miami, then academics sent him to Fork Union. He tried to return to Miami, but the NCAA flagged his test scores. Needing to make a quick decision so he could enroll in January as he planned, he chose the Herd. Whether he'll help immediately or have to wait a season will depend upon getting the necessary test score.
And Jean-Louis has the skills to help immediately. He's a four-star recruit according to Rivals.com, Scout.com, ESPN and 247Sports.com. Rivals ranked him eighth in its prep school postseason top 25, while 247Sports ranks him No. 1.
The Herd also has verbal commitments from receivers Mark Barr and Josh Knight. Barr is a 6-foot, 160-pound receiver from St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He's a two-star recruit according to Rivals.com. The Herd fought off Boston College, Mississippi State and Cincinnati for his verbal.
Knight is a standout from a jaunt north of Fort Lauderdale, in Fort Pierce. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound receiver also is a two-star prospect according to Rivals who also has received offers from Bowling Green, Memphis and South Florida.
The Palm Beach Post rated him the 24th-best prospect in its coverage area.
Despite having 16 offensive linemen currently on the roster, the Herd is still looking for depth. Word is that tackles are a coaching-staff priority. The Herd had a plethora of linemen on its 2012 roster, but there were games that the line rotation dwindled to as low as six players. Against Ohio, no starting offensive lineman took a breather until sixth-year veteran John Bruhin, a usual starter who was nursing a bruised sternum, entered in the fourth quarter.
A scholarship became available for a lineman earlier this month, when former junior college transfer Billy Rone decided to transfer out of Marshall. That spot will be filled with 2012 grayshirt offensive lineman Tyler Combs, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound Louisa, Ky., native who will go on scholarship in the spring semester.
The Herd also has verbal commitments from three linemen - Cody Collins (6-2, 280) of Trotwood, Ohio, Michael Selby (6-3, 280) of Sandersville, Ga., and Gerald Wright (6-2, 321) of Miami, Fla. Rivals.com rates all as two-star prospects, while Scout.com rates Collins two stars and Selby and Wright three stars.
Wright has offers from Florida A&M and Ole Miss, while Selby has offers from Mississippi State and Middle Tennessee State. Collins also has offers from Bowling Green, Ohio and Western Kentucky.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.r...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.