Marshall football: Early enrollment gains popularity
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.
Several members of Marshall's 2013 recruiting class - including Anderson, linebacker Stefan Houston, offensive lineman Tyler Combs and safety Taj Letman - took advantage of enrolling early.
Anderson, a Boca Raton (Fla.) High product, was encouraged to make that move by, among others, this private quarterback coach, former Marshall great Eric Kresser.
Kresser, who helped lead the Herd to the 1996 Division I-AA national title, said that if given the choice again in high school, he'd have enrolled early himself. He felt it would have given him a better chance to compete with Heisman Trophy winner Danny Wuerffel.
"When I came out of high school, there was a whole lot of information that I didn't have," Kresser said. "When I went to Florida, it was a shock to the system and I had to play catch-up. When a guy gets in front of you, it's hard to unseat him."
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THE HERD picked up its sixth verbal commitment for 2014 on Tuesday, when Myrtle Beach, S.C., tight end Ryan Yurachek announced via Twitter his intentions to sign with Marshall. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder caught 56 passes for 731 yards and seven touchdowns last season for Carolina Forest High.
Marshall is working much faster than last season in reeling in verbal commitments, which are non-binding until they sign letters of intent in February. The Herd has received six verbals since May 31. The team had just one verbal for the 2013 class before June 20, 2012.
Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.