HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - When Chris Jasperse arrived on campus at Marshall University in 2010, he didn't come in with much - no fanfare, no stars on his recruiting rating and no scholarship.
But since then, he's gained a ton. He earned that scholarship after his redshirt year, earned notoriety as the Thundering Herd's starting center and earned the respect of his coaches and teammates as a player and a leader. When the Herd lines up at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Middle Tennessee State, Jasperse will be there over the ball pointing out the blocking assignments for the rest of the offensive line.
It's Jasperse's experience as a walk-on that has spurred him on ever since.
"When you come in here as a walk-on, everyone doubts you and doesn't think much of you," he said. "It just makes you work harder and I think that's what's made me the player I am today, how hard I work.
"I never forgot what got me here, and that's hard work," Jasperse added. "You have to go out every day, do what you do and just take pride in it."
Before last season, Marshall Coach Doc Holliday had considered the offensive line one of the weaker units on his team. With Jasperse in the lead, that group has changed Holliday's opinion. After rocketing up the offensive charts last season, the Herd remains at the top of Conference USA in total offense (450.3 yards per game) and scoring offense (36.2 points per game).
Jasperse has played the most snaps in 2013 of any lineman on the team, clocking in at 464. His 83-percent success rate is tied with guards Sebastian Johansson and Michael Selby for the team lead among linemen with at least 26 snaps under their belt this season. Jasperse also leads the team with 29.5 knockdown blocks.
"He never takes plays off, no matter what," Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato said. "He's always playing and he'll give it his all, no matter what. He'll go hard every play. He's a great guy on the field and off the field to be around."
People in and outside of the program have taken notice. College football analyst Phil Steele named Jasperse his first-team center on his midseason all-Conference USA team. Marshall coaches have named the 6-foot-4, 289-pound Greensboro, N.C., native one of the Herd's four team captains for each of the last four games. It's the most times any Herd player has been named a team captain this season.