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Sports briefs: Herd receives verbal from RB; GW, Winfield athletes set to sign

By From staff reports

RB Byrd verbally commits to Marshall

Running back Brandon Byrd of East Bay High School in Gibsonton, Fla., verbally committed to Marshall University following his official visit this past weekend, according to both the Tampa Bay Times and HerdNation.com. Byrd, a 6-foot, 185-pound prospect, rushed for 470 yards and nine touchdowns, caught 11 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 32.6 yards on five punt returns as a senior. Verbal commitments are non-binding, becoming official when players sign letters of intent beginning on Wednesday, National Signing Day.

GW football players to finalize commitments

The George Washington High School football program will honor five players Wednesday as they sign letters of intent to play college football.

Ryan Switzer (North Carolina), Dustin Crouser (Charlotte), Jordan Clay (Air Force), Sam Plantz (Concord) and Jacob Whitlock (Alderson-Broaddus) will be honored in a ceremony to take place at the school at 10 a.m.

Winfield seniors to sign letters of intent

Winfield High School seniors will sign letters of intent Wednesday to continue their athletic careers in a ceremony to take place at the school.

Girls soccer players Emily Cole and Cassidy Maynard will sign letters at 11:30 a.m. to play at Concord University. At 11:45 a.m., football players A.J. Covert, Garrett Grafton, T.C. Kester and Seth Lewis will sign letters to play at their chosen collegiate destinations. Kester and Grafton will play at West Virginia State, Covert will play at Eastern Kentucky and Lewis at Alderson-Broaddus.

Big Green to hold signing day party

Marshall University's Big Green Scholarship Foundation will host a National Signing Day party Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in Room BE-5 of the Marshall University Student Center. Hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served. Admission is $15 and open to Big Green or QB Club members. Big Green memberships starting at $50 will be available at the door. To RSVP, call 304-696-4661.

FSU's Thornton named Player of Week

PRINCETON -  Fairmont State's Isaac Thornton has been named the West Virginia Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week, as announced by the league office.

Thornton, a 6-foot-3 senior guard from Martinsburg, led the Falcons to a 2-0 week while also helping the squad register its fifth straight victory.

In a win over visiting Charleston, Thornton went eight-of-12 from the field and two-for-two from the foul line for 19 points. He also snagged four rebounds and dished out three assists. In a win over West Virginia Wesleyan, Thornton had a team-high 22 points while collecting five rebounds and totaled a pair of steals.

Thornton averaged a team-high 20.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, two assists and two steals for the week. He also hit 59 percent of his shots from the floor and was six-of-six from the foul line.

Curry, Williamson named top student-athletes

HUNTINGTON - Marshall's Vinny Curry and Andi Williamson were recognized as the 2011-12 Marshall Student-Athletes of the Year during the Herd's men's basketball win over UCF on Saturday.

Curry just completed his rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles after being selected 59th overall by the team in the 2012 National Football League Draft. The Neptune, N.J., native was selected to six All-America teams in 2011 while being earning Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year honors from the league's coaches.

Curry tied for second nationally with seven forced fumbles, tied for third with 22 tackles for loss and tied for sixth with 11 sacks during his senior campaign. He finished his Herd career with 49 tackles for loss and 26.5 sacks.

A Harts native and Chapmanville Regional High School graduate, Williamson posted a Marshall-record 25 wins last season as a junior, while compiling a 1.50 earned run average, the fifth best in school history and third in conference and recorded 268 strikeouts, two shy of the MU record.

The Thundering Herd pitcher was selected to the C-USA all-conference second team, C-USA all-tournament team and was NFCA Mideast All-Region last season.

Mountaineers maintain floor, vault rankings

MORGANTOWN - Following its season-best showing in its Big 12 Conference opener, the West Virginia University gymnastics team continues to rank nationally on floor and vault in this week's GymInfo Poll.

The Mountaineers (4-4, 0-1 Big 12) moved up two spots to No. 16 on floor and maintained their No. 22 ranking on vault.


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