HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - As far as dilemmas go, it was one that Todd Hartley didn't mind having.
"Kind of running out of creative cryptic messages now...that's a good problem to have!" theMarshall recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach tweeted last week.
What had Hartley going so cloak-and-dagger? He just snagged a couple more verbal commitments for the Thundering Herd's 2014 recruiting class. The NCAA forbids coaches to specifically mention a verbally committed player by name - such commitments are non-binding until they sign their letters of intent in February - but those coaches find other ways to broadcast the news. That's why you see the "YESSIR!"s and "Yahtzee!"s on their Twitter feeds that look like college recruiting Tourette's.
Here's why Hartley could be especially happy. Those latest verbals, Georgia receiver Keion Davis and Florida defensive lineman Ja'Ree Tolbert, were Marshall's seventh and eighth for 2014.
And here's some perspective: This is the fourth full recruiting year that Herd Coach Doc Holliday, whose recruiting acumen has been among his calling cards for decades, has had at Marshall. This is the first year of those four where Marshall has secured any more than two verbals before June 24.
Marshall's offense isn't the only thing that's fast around Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Now, neither method - reeling them in early or reeling them in late - is good or bad. They're just different, and both can work. Take a look at Florida State's strategies under both former Coach Bobby Bowden and current Coach Jimbo Fisher.
Bowden was considered one of the nation's best closers. As National Signing Day drew near, the list of Seminole commitments grew, and on Signing Day, many of those uncommitted prospects with FSU on their final lists grabbed the Seminoles' letter of intent to sign. Look at the Class of 2004 - two verbal commitments before Jan. 18. Current Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons didn't commit until Jan. 29. Current Denver Broncos corner Tony Carter waited until Signing Day on Feb. 4.