HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato was asked how many players he knew on the roster of the Thundering Herd's Saturday opponent, Florida Atlantic University. There were some impressive names on the list.
There was the Owls' starting middle linebacker, Andrae Kirk, who played with Cato and Herd receiver Tommy Shuler on the 2010 Miami Central High state championship team. There was starting strong safety Damian Parms from Monsignor Pace High in Miami and starting defensive end Martin Wright from Booker T. Washington High in Miami.
These aren't just acquaintances. They're players Cato knows personally. Plenty of Herd players find themselves in that circumstance as they prepare for their 5 p.m. (Fox College Sports) game in Boca Raton, Fla. But how much does that familiarity help in scouting an opponent?
Not as much as you'd think, Marshall Coach Doc Holliday said.
"I don't know if there's any tendencies," he said. "You can talk a little about who fast he is, if he's tough, those types of things. Beyond that, that's about as far as it goes."
Cato agreed. With 21/2 seasons passed between their high school days and the present, a lot can change. Players can get stronger, quicker and better, and Cato said it's best to let the players learn for themselves through film work rather than South Florida natives offering tutorials.
"We're not going to change anyone's style of play," Cato said. "We'll let the coaches take care of anything. We'll let the coaches coach and let everything be what it is. As long as everyone brings their 'A' game, there shouldn't be a problem."
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HOLLIDAY, CONSIDERED one of the country's top recruiters, long has used the South Florida pipeline to populate his rosters. But he doesn't feel that winning Saturday against an opponent from that area - and a rival on the recruiting trail - will make the recruiting flag he's planted in that region any tougher to uproot.