HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Sandy Spring (Ga.) High School quarterback Cole Garvin is a realist when it comes to his immediate future at Marshall University.
The rising senior, who last week verbally committed to the Thundering Herd, doesn't expect to walk in his freshman year and unseat Rakeem Cato, Conference USA's reigning most valuable player, from the starting job. In fact, he feels a redshirt season is in the cards.
But that's not derailing his plans to graduate from high school this December and enroll at Marshall for the spring 2014 semester. And he's not alone in that thinking. Recruits both at Marshall and elsewhere are taking care of high school early to gain knowledge on the college level.
Garvin started looking into early graduation this past December, when he saw some of his football-recruit friends doing it. He decided the benefits made it the right move. Enrolling in January allows him to enter the Marshall system, gives him a head start on completing his degree and allows him participate in Marshall spring practices. Those 15 sessions, he said, will give him a boost for the fall.
"That extra semester will let me get into the flow of things," he said, "so I can compete as soon as possible."
Garvin will join a Herd roster with a pretty crowded quarterback depth chart. Behind junior Cato is redshirt sophomore Blake Frohnapfel, redshirt freshman Gunnar Holcombe and freshman Kevin Anderson. LaBelle (Fla.) offensive lineman Josh Rimes plans on enrolling early as well, and his hope is that the extra semester will help him dent the depth chart immediately.
The Herd has four offensive linemen entering the 2013 season in their final year of eligibility, and Rimes said the spring semester will give him a leg up on the rest of the incoming class.
"I feel it's a place that I'll be able to go, as a freshman, and compete," he said.