www.charlestondailymail.com Marshall Sports http://www.charlestondailymail.com Daily Mail feed en-us Copyright 2015, Charleston Newspapers, Charleston, WV Newspapers Herd's Johnson leaves basketball team http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150519/DM03/150519157 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150519/DM03/150519157 Tue, 19 May 2015 22:51:09 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Another Marshall men's basketball player is headed elsewhere. The university confirmed Tuesday that forward Jay Johnson has been released from his scholarship. A Daily Mail source confirmed a Herald-Dispatch report that Johnson's planned destination is NCAA Division II Kentucky Wesleyan, where he would join another former Marshall player, Tamron Manning. KWU announced Monday that Manning would transfer there.

Johnson, a Versailles, Ky., native, averaged 15.9 minutes per game with the Thundering Herd, averaging 5.4 points and 3.7 rebounds. He played one season at Marshall after transferring from John Logan College in Illinois. Johnson joins Manning, Shawn Smith (Nevada) and Devince Boykins (Georgia Southern) as Marshall players from last season who will play elsewhere next season.

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Herd's Boster makes all-Conference USA baseball team http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150519/DM03/150519160 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150519/DM03/150519160 Tue, 19 May 2015 22:50:11 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Marshall sophomore pitcher Chase Boster was named Tuesday to the all-Conference USA second team. He was the Thundering Herd's lone all-conference honoree.

Boster, also named to the conference's all-academic team, led the Herd with a 7-1 record, the conference's fourth-best win total. He ended the season with a 2.95 ERA, 10th best in C-USA, and a .233 opponent's batting average, 8th best in C-USA.

Connor Wanhanen, TCU DH

Bret Boswell, Texas INF

Michael Cantu, Texas C

Connor Mayes, Texas RHP

Orlando Garcia, Texas Tech INF

Kyle Davis, WVU UTIL

BJ Myers, WVU RHP

Conference USA baseball awards

Player of the Year: Brendon Sanger, Florida Atlantic

Pitcher of the Year: James McMahon, Southern Miss

Freshman of the Year: Ryan Chandler, Rice

Newcomer of the Year: Ronnie Jebavy, Middle Tenn.

Coach of the Year: Jim McGuire, Middle Tennessee

All-Conference USA First Team

Name, School Position Class

Jesse Baker, UTSA IF Jr.

CJ Chatham, Florida Atlantic IF So.

Edwin Rios, FIU IF Jr.

Ford Stainback, Rice IF Sr.

Ronnie Jebavy, Middle Tennessee OF Jr.

Anderson Miller, WKU OF Jr.

Brendon Sanger, Florida Atlantic OF Jr.

John Bormann, UTSA C Sr.

John Clay Reeves, Rice DH Sr.

James McMahon, Southern Miss SP Sr.

James Naile, UAB SP Sr.

Austin Orewiler, Rice SP Jr.

Jordan Stephens, Rice SP Jr.

Matt Ditman, Rice RP Sr.

All-Conference USA Second Team

Name, School Position Class

P.J. Riggins, Old Dominion IF Jr.

Danny Hudzina, WKU IF Jr.

Tim Lynch, Southern Miss IF Jr.

Ricky Santiago, Florida Atlantic IF Sr.

Roman Collins, Florida Atlantic OF JR.

Brad Jarreau, Middle Tennessee OF So.

Brian Portelli, FIU OF Sr.

Kirby Taylor, Rice OF Sr.

Esteban Tresgallo, UAB C Jr.

Adam Lau, UAB DH Jr.

Chase Boster, Marshall SP So.

Nate Hoffmann, Middle Tennessee SP Jr.

Drew Jackson, Florida Atlantic SP Sr.

Phil Maton, Louisiana Tech SP Sr.

Sam Sinnen, Old Dominion SP So.

Danny Dopico, FIU RP Jr.

All-Freshman Team

Name, School Position

Ryan Miller, Florida Atlantic C

Brent Diaz, Louisiana Tech C

Taylor Braley, Southern Miss IF

Zach Rutherford, Old Dominion IF

Ryan Chandler, Rice OF

Trent Bowles, UTSA OF

Brett Netzer, Charlotte OF

Blake Stansberry, Middle Tennessee RHP

Kirk McCarty, Southern Miss LHP

Chance Kirby, UTSA RHP

Ryan Ruggles, UAB LHP

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Derek Redd: MU's D'Antoni embraces proposed NCAA rule changes http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150518/DM03/150519251 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150518/DM03/150519251 Mon, 18 May 2015 23:08:25 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - When Marshall men's basketball coach Dan D'Antoni joined his brother Mike's staff with the Phoenix Suns in 2005, theirs was the only team in the NBA that played that fast-paced, free-flowing style of the game.

"You can look at the NBA right now," D'Antoni said, "and the top four teams all play the style of game we played in Phoenix."

It's a style he endorsed as head coach at Socastee High School in South Carolina. He runs it now with the Thundering Herd.

"I would coach a grade-school team the same way," he said. "That's how you teach basketball."

Proposed NCAA rule changes would make that style much easier to run and could play into the Herd's hands if enacted. Reducing the shot clock to 30 seconds, extending the restricted area from 3 feet to 4 feet and emphasizing freedom of movement all are designed create a more aesthetically pleasing college game. And D'Antoni is for all of them.

He thinks the NCAA didn't shorten the shot clock enough. He wouldn't mind if the association cut it to 25 seconds. A bigger restricted area will keep defenders from camping out under the hoop waiting to draw charges and force them to defend the hoop vertically and alter shots.

And he's quite happy to see the rules change to enhance freedom of movement.

"It allows skill players to win and fundamentally sound players to be better," D'Antoni said. "When you don't allow physical play and allow freedom of movement, people who are efficient in their movement and efficient in their footwork now have a really good chance of being successful. It allows ball movement, player movement and is good for the game."

Allowing that in the NBA is what has allowed players like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors to jump from good to great. Curry may not be the quickest player in the NBA, but he's a quick shot and an efficient player who was voted the league's Most Valuable Player this season.

Now, D'Antoni isn't about to compare his Herd team - which finished 11-21 in his first season at the helm - to a team playing in the NBA's Western Conference finals. Yet the Herd's playing style has its similarities with the Warriors'. Both teams look to their post players to shoot from outside. Golden State power forward Draymond Green has put up 329 3-pointers this season. For Marshall, it was no surprise when 6-foot-9 forward J.P. Kambola would pull up beyond the arc.

Three-pointers are a staple of the Marshall scheme. Only Rice took more and made more as a team in Conference USA. Herd guard Austin Loop was among the conference most prolific from long range. And when multiple players were hot from outside, when Justin Edmonds or Ryan Taylor or both added to the barrage, it opened the driving lanes and allowed athletic players like Taylor or Devince Boykins to sprint to the hoop.

The new additions to the Marshall roster shouldn't change those strategies at all. University of Miami transfer forward James Kelly was never shy about shooting a 3 in practice. Signee Aleksandar Dozic, a 6-9 forward, shot 39 percent from 3-point range at Don Bosco Prep. Junior college transfer Terrence Thompson adds athleticism down low. The proposed rule changes should only enhance those attributes.

"It gives your team - if you teach skills well and have good teamwork - it gives those teams a better chance," D'Antoni said. "The physical teams, the ones that beat you down because they're physical, can't do it. Now their practices better be on skill and efficiency and teamwork, because that's what gets people open, the passing and the spacing and the cuts that are now allowed."

D'Antoni has heard what the detractors have had to say. He just doesn't agree with them. They said a shorter shot clock would turn games into run-and-gun track meets? He said there's more coaching with a shorter clock. They said a shorter shot clock will lead to more bad shots? He said coaches should teach their players to become better shooters. They said morphing the college game into more of a pro style removes the uniqueness from the college game?

"You mean if you're ugly, it's good to be ugly because you're unique?" he asked.

He does agree with others who say the rule changes will work only if the officials calling games allow them to work. They must define freedom of movement, allow it and be consistent in their calls. Basketball programs not used to the new rules might have some difficulties getting used to them, but D'Antoni figures it won't take long for them to adapt.

"There's a lot of great coaches in college basketball, and if they have to adjust a little bit, they will," he said. "Those rules they'll put in, they'll figure it out. When we started in Phoenix, there wasn't one team that played that way. Now there's a bunch of them."

D'Antoni thinks that style could grow at the college level with these proposed rule changes. Could those changes benefit the Herd? Sure, but D'Antoni also looks at it from a broader perspective.

"Does it fit my style? I think it fits the way basketball was meant to be," he said. "It's not just my style. It's clean, exciting basketball."

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Herd's Manning transfers to Kentucky Wesleyan http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150518/DM03/150519271 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150518/DM03/150519271 Mon, 18 May 2015 22:27:56 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Former Marshall guard Tamron Manning will play his final college basketball season at Kentucky Wesleyan University, KWU announced Monday. The Thundering Herd released Manning from his scholarship in March.

Manning - who averaged 3.7 points and 1.9 rebounds last season with the Herd - was a two-time all-state first-team pick at Scott County High School in Georgetown, Ky. KWU has played in 13 NCAA Division II national championship games in its history, winning eight. Manning is one of three members of last season's Herd team to transfer, joining Shawn Smith (Nevada) and Devince Boykins (Georgia Southern).

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Cato inks contract with CFL's Alouettes http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150517/DM03/150519345 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150517/DM03/150519345 Sun, 17 May 2015 21:47:35 -0400 Marshall University football

FROM STAFF REPORTS

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Former Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato signed a two-year contract with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League on Saturday, the university announced.

The team also holds an option for a third year. The Miami native took part in the Cleveland Browns' rookie mini-camp last week prior to agreeing to Saturday's deal.

"The ultimate goal still remains to become an NFL quarterback, but I intend to make Montreal the best team in the CFL and to win championships," Cato said.

Cato owns the NCAA's major college (FBS) record, and tied the overall NCAA record, for consecutive games with a touchdown pass (46). He finished his Marshall career with most of the Thundering Herd's major passing records, including yards (14,079), completions (1,153), attempts (1,838), touchdowns (131) and total offense (14,918).

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Marshall, Ohio to renew men's basketball series http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150512/DM03/150519715 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150512/DM03/150519715 Tue, 12 May 2015 21:51:59 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Marshall University and Ohio University have agreed in principle to renew its men's basketball series. Marshall confirmed Ohio coach Saul Phillips' comments in the Athens (Ohio) Messenger that the two teams will play again. A contract has not yet been signed.

Phillips told the Messenger that the deal will run four years, with Ohio hosting the Thundering Herd this season, Marshall hosting the next two games and the Bobcats hosting the fourth. Phillips said the first game was targeted for early December. Marshall officials said Tuesday night the games will be played in consecutive seasons.

The Herd and Bobcats have played 100 times in their history, with Ohio leading the all-time series, 54-46. The two teams last played in the 2012-13 season.

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Cato not given contract by Browns http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150511/DM03/150519816 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150511/DM03/150519816 Mon, 11 May 2015 22:43:15 -0400

FROM STAFF REPORTS

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Browns do not sign Cato out of mini-camp

Former Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato's mini-camp tryout with the Cleveland Browns did not end with an NFL contract. According to the team's Website, the Browns signed eight players from that mini-camp, but Cato, who was invited last week, was not one of them. Cleveland signed receivers Paul Browning and Darius Jennings, tight ends Emmanuel Bibbs and Kevin Haplea, defensive backs Landon Feichter and Brandon Stephens, running back Luke Lundy and linebacker Rodman Noel.

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Derek Redd: Money the cause for crop of new bowl games http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150511/DM03/150519827 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150511/DM03/150519827 Mon, 11 May 2015 21:33:31 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Pardon me while my mind runneth over:

So my outrage meter is supposed to be running in the red because college football now has 42 bowl games?

Sorry, folks, but that needle is stuck firmly on "meh."

The NCAA approved three new bowl games last week in Austin, Texas, Orlando, Fla., and Tucson, Ariz. That means 82 teams of the 128 in the Football Bowl Subdivision can earn postseason berths. (The national championship game features two teams already assigned to bowls.). That's 64 percent of the entire FBS pool.

Is it diluting the postseason? The postseason already was diluted. Is it turning the bowl experience into an exhibition schedule? That happened as soon as tire companies and wing joints became title sponsors.

The answer to this expansion can be seen in the new bowls' conference affiliations - American Athletic and Sun Belt in Austin and Orlando, Conference USA and Mountain West in Tucson. See any Power Five conferences among the slate?

That's because those conferences are marching into established bowl games and pushing out the previously affiliated Group of Five conferences. The Belk Bowl used to take a Big East/American team. Now it's SEC vs. ACC. The Liberty Bowl was the home of the C-USA champion until it decided it would rather take the No. 4 Big 12 team and whoever the SEC feels like sending to Memphis. Smaller conferences want their bowl-eligible teams playing in the postseason, so some of these games are born somewhat out of necessity.

And don't expect the sports networks to tell college football to pump its brakes. They're rubbing their hands together at the thought of all the relatively inexpensive holiday-season programming that will actually pop a decent rating. What's the alternative, billiards tournaments and Southland Conference basketball?

Will they all have the pageantry, pomp and circumstance of the Rose Bowl? No, but it's one more chance to watch your favorite team in either a sunnier Christmastime climate or the comfort of your own home. That's not awful.

n n n

THERE'S ONE area where Group of Five conferences ... well, most of them ... can't complain about the new College Football Playoff system - their bank accounts.

According to a study by BusinessofCollegeSports.com, four of the Group of Five conferences saw massive leaps in revenue. The biggest jump came with the Mountain West, which saw its revenue increase from just under $3.6 million in the final BCS season to more than $23.4 million in the first year of the CFP. That's a 553-percent increase.

It helped C-USA, too. Its cut went from just under $3 million in 2014 to more than $16.3 million in 2015, a 446-percent increase. The Mid-American Conference's cut saw a 488-percent jump and the Sun Belt's cut rose 186 percent.

The only Group of Five conference to see a drop was the American, which lost the BCS automatic qualifier status it enjoyed as the Big East and got relegated to the kiddie table. Its cut dropped 45 percent.

The Power Five folks weren't hurt either. Each saw an increase of at least 70 percent and none of the five made less than $58.2 million, but this rising title lifted almost all boats - and might allow some the smaller guys to buy some better boats.

n n n

JAMES ROUSE missed the majority of two Marshall football seasons - most of one and all of the next - trying to recover from back and Achilles tendon injuries. He did, and became one of Conference USA's most dominant defense players. The tackle constantly drew double teams and sometimes drew triple teams. But at 270 pounds, his chances of making the NFL as a tackle were slim. He'd have to move to end. The lack of film to evaluate him at that spot, plus his injury history, likely kept him from being drafted last week. He signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Houston Texans.

And then he tore his Achilles in his first practice with the team.

You hate to see that happen to any young player. It's even worse when it's a guy who fought so hard to return to the field in college and proved his talent.

Texans coach Bill O'Brien said he told Rouse an Achilles tear wasn't the end of the world. He mentioned an example on his own team, guard Cody White, who signed with the Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He tore his Achilles in 2014 training camp and he returned.

To suffer such an injury as a rookie free agent could make a second chance at the NFL a longer shot. Here's hoping Rouse gets that chance.

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Former Marshall QB Rakeem Cato gets tryout with Browns http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150507/DM03/150509341 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150507/DM03/150509341 Thu, 7 May 2015 22:11:37 -0400 From Staff Reports CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Former Marshall University quarterback Rakeem Cato, who went undrafted in last weekend’s NFL draft, will get a camp tryout with the Cleveland Browns. The move was announced on Marshall football’s official Twitter account.

Cato finished his Thundering Herd career as the all-time leader in passing yards (14,079), completions (1,153), attempts (1,838) and touchdowns (131). He also tied the NCAA record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass, throwing one in 46 straight games.

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Reserve QB Cole Garvin leaves Marshall http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150507/DM03/150509342 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150507/DM03/150509342 Thu, 7 May 2015 22:06:50 -0400 By Derek Redd HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University reserve quarterback Cole Garvin has left the team. Garvin announced his departure on his Twitter feed Thursday afternoon and Marshall confirmed his exit later that day.

Garvin voiced his frustrations about his stay at Marshall on his Twitter feed.

"It's a great indignity when you come to a school to be mentored by your coaches, but are rather humiliated and ran (sic) off by those same people," he wrote. "But I am very grateful for the friends I've made here at Marshall and and (sic) the memories we've shared!"

A Marshall athletics spokesman said the program would not comment on what Garvin wrote, but head coach Doc Holliday wished Garvin well.

Garvin was part of the Thundering Herd's 2013 recruiting class, a three-star prospect out of Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Ga. He redshirted the 2013 season and sat behind starter Rakeem Cato and backup Gunnar Holcombe in 2014.

In the race to replace Cato as starter, he fell behind now-starter Michael Birdsong, Holcombe and freshman Chase Litton.

He took no snaps in Marshall's spring scrimmage at the Greenbrier, none in the next scrimmage at Joan C. Edwards Stadium, and just a handful of snaps in the Herd's Green and White spring game.

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

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Marshall officials dispute website's stonewalling claims http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150507/DM01/150509356 DM01 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150507/DM01/150509356 Thu, 7 May 2015 18:12:30 -0400 By Marcus Constantino Marshall University officials are disputing a report claiming school athletics staff "stonewalled" Huntington detectives during an investigation involving running back Steward Butler, but Athletic Director Mike Hamrick is conducting an internal review in response to the claims.

Huntington Detective Chris Sperry told The Daily Beast website that unidentified members of the Marshall football program were not cooperative with the investigation into Butler, who is accused of beating a gay couple he saw kissing on a street corner last month in Huntington.

The Daily Mail reported Butler, 23, turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning and appeared before Cabell County Magistrate Darrell Black later that morning to face two charges of misdemeanor battery. He was released on $10,000 bond total, $5,000 for each charge.

One of the victims caught the alleged assault on video and shared it with investigators.

"(The football program) looked at the video and they definitely could tell who it was but they wouldn't tell me," Sperry told The Daily Beast, a popular news reporting and opinion website. "That's the kind of cooperation I got there."

The university responded in a statement Thursday evening, saying university officials were shown a screenshot from a video, not the video itself, by the investigating officer during the investigation, and that football staff members identified Butler as the individual in the screenshot.

"As of close of business today, Mr. Hamrick has found absolutely no evidence that anyone in the Athletic Department was shown the video in question prior to Mr. Butler's arrest," Marshall interim President Gary White said in a statement. "Furthermore, he has found no evidence that anyone in the department refused to cooperate fully with the investigation.

"Similar to my unequivocal statement yesterday regarding behaviors that are not tolerated at Marshall University, I will add that any confirmed cover-up or stonewalling of an investigation by any Marshall University officials would be considered an egregious breach of conduct an will be dealt with appropriately and swiftly, up to and including immediate dismissal."

Butler allegedly jumped from a vehicle on April 5 and shouted derogatory slurs at the couple before punching them in the face with a closed fist, according to the criminal complaint against Butler. Sperry told The Daily Beast the driver of the vehicle then shouted for Butler to return to the car.

The Daily Beast reported Sperry was told by a Marshall football coach that the getaway driver was a Marshall graduate who "was getting ready to be drafted in the NFL." The driver has not been identified.

"(The Marshall coaches) said he didn't do anything and they wouldn't tell me who he is," Sperry told the Daily Beast.

Huntington police Chief Joe Ciccarelli said he had read The Daily Beast story but declined to comment on evidence in the investigation. When asked whether he knew about the allegations, he stated that Huntington police have always had cooperation from the university during investigations.

"We have a very good relationship with the athletic department," Ciccarelli said. "To my knowledge, they've always been exceptionally cooperative. I'm not aware of any instance in this case or in any other case where they have been less than cooperative.

"If they were not, I would expect my officers would bring that to my attention," Ciccarelli said.

Ciccarelli would not say whether he learned of the stonewalling allegations through The Daily Beast story or from Sperry.

"If any of my officers experienced issues like that with the Marshall University athletic department or anybody else, I expect them to bring that to my attention," Ciccarelli said.

When asked if Sperry brought any complaints about stonewalling to him, Ciccarelli responded, "That's my story right there."

The university said in a statement that the Marshall Athletic Department was first notified by Huntington police that there was an ongoing investigation into an alleged attack shortly after the April 5 incident. Marshall University Police Chief James Terry was the first university official outside the athletic department to learn of the investigation when Huntington officers notified him on May 4. Terry then notified the university's legal counsel and White, according to the statement.

Terry viewed the video at the Huntington Police Department on May 5, and Hamrick and Lisa Martin, director of Marshall's Office of Student Conduct, viewed the video on May 6, according to the statement. Hamrick and Marshall head football coach Doc Holliday immediately decided to dismiss Butler after seeing the video, according to the statement.

"Based on what I know this evening, I have full confidence that all Marshall University officials have acted absolutely appropriately in this very serious matter," White said in the statement. "I also have complete confidence in Mike Hamrick's management of the Athletic Department and his commitment to integrity. We will settle for nothing less."

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams released a statement about the stonewalling allegations Thursday evening. Williams said he trusts "the professionalism of the Huntington Police Department" and said intolerance and bigoted behavior has no place in Huntington. He said the city, Huntington police and Marshall have had a "cooperative and trusting" relationship during his two-and-a-half year tenure as mayor and said he's never seen a lack of cooperation from Marshall.

"I would trust that if any concerns of this nature were true, they would be brought to the police chief, who would, in turn, bring it to my attention," Williams said. He declined to discuss the lack of cooperation accusations further Thursday evening.

When reached by telephone Thursday afternoon, Sperry said he was instructed by his supervisor to no longer answer media inquiries about the charges against Butler.

Contact writer Marcus Constantino at 304-348-1796 or marcus.c@dailymailwv.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/amtino.

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UPDATE: Marshall dismisses football player following alleged attack on gay couple http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150506/DM03/150509510 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150506/DM03/150509510 Wed, 6 May 2015 14:04:53 -0400 By Derek Redd HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall University dismissed a senior football player Wednesday afternoon after he was accused of attacking two men he saw kissing along a Huntington street.

Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick announced via Twitter that running back Steward Butler was no longer a member of the Thundering Herd.

"Head Coach Doc Holliday and I have decided to dismiss running back Steward Butler from our program in light of additional information regarding his charges," Hamrick said.

Butler, 23, turned himself in to authorities Wednesday morning. He appeared before Cabell County Magistrate Darrell Black later that morning to face two charges of misdemeanor battery. He was released on $10,000 bond total, $5,000 for each charge.

Two men were walking April 5 near 9th Street and 5th Avenue in Huntington when they exchanged a kiss, according to a criminal complaint filed in Cabell Magistrate Court. Butler was a passenger in a passing vehicle when he saw the kiss, the complaint stated, and he left the vehicle and approached the two men, shouting derogatory words about their sexual orientation. He then struck the men in the face with a closed fist.

According to published reports, the two men recorded the incident on a cellphone, and Huntington police Detective Chris Sperry said evidence in the case has been turned over to the FBI to determine if any civil rights violations occurred. Assistant U.S. Attorney Steve Ruby told the Daily Mail their office has been briefed on the case and is reviewing it.

Marshall University released three statements Wednesday. The first, at around 11 a.m., said the university was aware of the situation and was gathering information on the incident. The second, released at around 1:30 p.m., announced that Butler would be suspended indefinitely from all team-related activities, and included strongly worded comments from university interim President Gary White.

"The entire university community is shocked and disappointed to learn the details surrounding the alleged actions that led to Mr. Butler's arrest this morning," he said. "The type of violent, bigoted behavior reported to have been perpetrated by this student is not tolerated at Marshall University. Period. This is an extremely serious matter.

"We will allow the legal process to run its course and will act swiftly and appropriately within our Student Conduct System and according to the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities as more details become clear."

Hamrick also commented in that second release.

"We take all accusations against our student-athletes seriously, especially those of such a sensitive nature," he said. "We hold all of our 350+ student-athletes to a high standard, on and off the playing surface, as ambassadors of Marshall University."

Hamrick's tweet announcing Butler's dismissal came about an hour later.

Fairness West Virginia - the statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender West Virginians - said in an official statement that it supported the statements made by Marshall and its athletic department and hoped the incident could "ultimately lead to greater education, understanding and acceptance of LGBT people."

"There is no place for violence or intolerance in any community in West Virginia," executive director Andrew Schneider said in the statement. "Huntington like so many communities in the Mountain State has actively worked to ensure all of her citizens feel welcome and safe. Unfortunately, the alleged actions of Butler undermine the strides made by both the City of Huntington and by Marshall University to become inclusive communities."

The ACLU of West Virginia also released a statement, saying the thoughts of the organization were with the two alleged victims.

"Although as a nation and as West Virginians we have taken great strides to protect and advance LGBTQ rights, this tragedy is evidence that we have more work to do," the organization's statement read.

Butler had adjudication withheld in a 2009 case where he was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, according to the Clerk of Courts website in Polk County, Fla. Butler, from Lakeland, Fla., was sentenced to 12 months probation in that case.

As a backup to starter Devon Johnson, Butler rushed for 798 yards and seven touchdowns last season. He has 2,063 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns in his career.

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

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Derek Redd: How much does the NFL emphasize character? http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150504/DM03/150509648 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150504/DM03/150509648 Mon, 4 May 2015 23:09:51 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Doc Holliday's interest in last weekend's NFL draft was two-fold. Of course, the Marshall football coach wanted to see if any of his players would get picked, and that wish was fulfilled Saturday when the New England Patriots took cornerback Darryl Roberts in the seventh round.

But he also was curious about the draft spot of several other prospects, guys who entered the draft sporting a red character flag or two ... or more.

"The NFL is talking about how they take so much character into consideration," Holliday said last Thursday at the Daily Mail's draft event at Recovery Sports Grill. "When I talk to our football team, the last thing I tell them every time they walk off the football field is every decision you make has consequences. I'm anxious to see in this draft whether some of the decisions some of these so-called top-10 players have made don't have consequences.

"For a guy like me that sits there and tells those kids every day after practice, and a guy that has all the issues in the world gets drafted as a top-five pick, that makes our job harder."

His first test case didn't take long to appear.

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was the top quarterback in the draft and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, owners of the first overall pick, needed one. Researching his history wasn't difficult. It was splashed across most major news outlets.

There were the questionable choices, like when he was stopped by police while shooting at squirrels with a BB gun on a Tallahassee bike trail. And when a Burger King employee called police to complain he was taking soda from the fountain in ketchup cups without paying. And when he left a local supermarket with a pound of crab legs without paying. And when he was suspended for last season's Clemson game after standing on a student union table and shouting a vulgar phrase.

And then there was a much more serious accusation, that he sexually assaulted a classmate in 2012. The State Attorney declined to prosecute, citing a lack of evidence, and the university cleared him of violating the student code of conduct. His accuser has filed a civil suit against him.

Scouts Inc., a scouting service partnered with ESPN, rates football traits for top players from 1 to 5, 5 being the lowest. It rated Winston's intangibles a 4, citing much of what you read above. The Bucs wasted little time in picking Winston.

Winston's rating might have been bad, but Washington cornerback Marcus Peters' was worse. Scouts Inc. gave him a 5 in intangibles. He was suspended from working out with the Huskies for a month last offseason. He drew a personal foul for headbutting an Eastern Washington player and was suspended for Washington's game versus Illinois for arguing with coaches over that penalty. He showed up late to meetings prior to the Stanford game and missed a practice before the UCLA game and finally was kicked off the team.

The Kansas City Chiefs took him with the 18th overall pick.

Holliday specifically mentioned Missouri defensive end Shane Ray, who was cited for midsemeanor marijuana possession during a traffic stop just three days before the draft. Ray wasn't smoking it and wasn't impaired - which was why he was able to drive away and wasn't taken into custody - but the act of just having an illegal substance so close to the most important day of his football career is a head-scratcher.

The Denver Broncos traded up to the No. 23 spot to draft him.

"The NFL, they talk out of both sides of their mouths," Holliday said Thursday. "They talk about wanting to draft character guys and how important that character is and all that, and then they turn around and the first player picked has all these issues."

To be fair, there were plenty of high character players rewarded for their attitude. Everyone at Oregon raved about quarterback Marcus Mariota's class, and the Tennessee Titans took him with the second overall pick. West Virginia receiver Kevin White worked his way from obscurity to the top of the draft, as the Chicago Bears took him with the seventh overall pick.

And some players' issues severely damaged their draft prospects. Scouts Inc. rated Nebraska linebacker Randy Gregory its 18th overall prospect. He tested positive for marijuana at the NFL scouting combine and fell to the second round and the Dallas Cowboys with the 60th overall pick. LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins was Scouts Inc.'s No. 22 overall prospect. He was scheduled to meet with Baton Rouge, La., police in connection with the shooting death of a 29-year-old pregnant woman. Police did not consider him a suspect, but the situation still left him undrafted.

It's the same in the league already. There are players like Ray Rice and Greg Hardy. Aaron Hernandez spent three seasons as a New England Patriots tight end. He'll spend the rest of his life in prison, convicted of first-degree murder. Yet there also are players like Troy Polamalu, whose charitable contributions have helped children, veterans and those in American Samoa. There's Peyton Manning, who did so much for the children's hospital at St. Vincent in Indianapolis, it was named after him in 2007.

Yet what the draft often shows is that, at its root, the NFL is a business. Coaches and front office personnel are trying to keep their jobs. Winning ensures those jobs remain safe. So some of those folks will covet the reward of a top-flight player rather than run away from low-rung character. Sometimes the gamble pays off. Sometimes it blows up in a team's face.

For college coaches like Holliday, it makes it that much tougher to prove that poor actions always have dire consequences.

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WVU's Glowinski gets 'best birthday present' with NFL draft call http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150503/DM03/150509787 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150503/DM03/150509787 Sun, 3 May 2015 21:39:46 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - As far as birthday presents go, it's no surprise where being drafted by the Seattle Seahawks ranks on West Virginia University offensive lineman Mark Glowinski's list.

"That's the best birthday present you can ask for," he said.

That gift came a day early for Glowinski, who turned 23 on Sunday. The Seahawks took him in the fourth round with the 134th overall pick Saturday, the final day of the NFL draft. The lineman was one of four players from West Virginia's Football Bowl Subdivision schools taken Saturday. WVU defensive end Shaq Riddick was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round with the 158th overall pick. The Cincinnati Bengals took WVU receiver Mario Alford in the seventh round with the 238th overall pick, and the New England Patriots took Marshall corner Darryl Roberts in the seventh round with the 247th overall pick.

Those four join WVU receiver Kevin White, a first-rounder the Chicago Bears took with the seventh overall pick.

Glowinski started all 25 games he played for WVU after two seasons at Lackawanna College, the same junior college that produced White. He was an all-Big 12 pick last season. He'll join the defending NFC champions, who re-signed running back Marshawn Lynch to a three-year, $31-million deal in March.

Blocking for a back the caliber of Lynch is right up Glowinski's alley.

"Man, it's everything you can ask for," he said, "especially since I've always been with teams in a running scheme up to this last season. In high school, we probably ran for about 90 percent of the time. In Lackawanna, we ran a lot. To have a back that great and a hard-nosed guy like that, that's somebody I want to block for."

Riddick made his one season with the Mountaineers count. He was a graduate transfer from Gardner-Webb University and wanted to prove himself in jumping from the Football Championship Subdivision to power five football.

In that single season, Riddick led WVU with seven sacks and recorded 11 tackles for a loss. Big 12 coaches named him newcomer of the year, and he also was named conference defensive newcomer of the year.

The Cardinals needed pass rushing help, and Riddick will try to provide that help for the team he wanted to join more than any other.

"I loved everything about it," he said. "I loved the scheme, I loved the coaches, I loved the nutrition program they have, the weight room, the strength coaches, the philosophy that they hold, the mentality of the coaches. It seemed like a perfect fit for me."

Alford wants to help the Bengals in more than one category. Not only did the slot receiver lead WVU and tie for first in the Big 12 with 11 touchdown catches, he also became the fourth player in program history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in one season. He was an FWAA first-team all-American kick returner.

His speed may be his calling card - Alford's NFL scouting combine 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds paled in comparison to the 4.32-second and 4.27-second runs at WVU's pro day - but he said he can provide more than just fast feet.

"I'm also a great football player, too, not just because I have speed," he said. "I've got great hands and my ball skills are great. I'm a legit football player."

Roberts' selection marked the fifth straight season that a Thundering Herd player was picked in the NFL draft. That's the longest streak since at least one Herd player was taken from 2000-05. He'll join receiver Aaron Dobson on the Patriots. New England picked Dobson in the second round of the 2013 draft.

Roberts was named to the 2014 all-Conference USA first team after breaking up 17 passes and intercepting another. He also finished fifth on the team in tackles with 75 total, adding 3.5 tackles for a loss. Roberts rebounded from snubs from college all-star games and the combine to gain plenty of buzz after running a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.

"All you can ask for is a chance and a shot to just go do what you love to do," Roberts told reporters after he was drafted. "I'm just honored that they even took a chance on me to come to New England and play."

Several WVU and Marshall players signed rookie free agent contracts following the draft. Marshall's group included tight end Eric Frohnapfel (San Diego Chargers), center Chris Jasperse (Cincinnati Bengals), linebacker Neville Hewitt (Miami Dolphins) and defensive lineman James Rouse (Houston Texans). For WVU, offensive lineman Quinton Spain (Tennessee Titans) and running back Dreamius Smith (San Diego Chargers) both signed free agent deals.

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

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Chuck McGill: Observations, trends from the NFL draft http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150503/DM03/150509789 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150503/DM03/150509789 Sun, 3 May 2015 21:36:56 -0400 By Chuck McGill CHARLESTON, W.Va. - In the hours before the NFL draft commenced last Thursday, three Daily Mail sportswriters interviewed local football folks at Recovery Sports Grill in downtown Charleston.

The first of seven subjects was Doc Holliday, the head football coach at Marshall who has been in the college coaching profession since the late 1970s. He has seen plenty in those decades, and he has witnessed about everything associated with the NFL draft.

"You talk about the mistakes that are made in the draft," Holliday said, "those NFL guys sure make a lot of 'em."

Holliday then unfolded a few pieces of paper. He'd taken the time to jot down the names of the snubbed and unwanted. He read them one by one, names a common NFL fan would know, names that weren't ever called on draft day.

The final guest of the two-hour sports talk event was former South Charleston and Marshall standout Carl Lee, who played 11 seasons in the NFL and was selected for three Pro Bowls. He, like the Herd's Darryl Roberts, was a seventh round draft choice. It shouldn't be a surprise if, years from now, Roberts is still on an NFL roster and many of the 28 cornerbacks selected ahead of him are not.

The same goes for WVU receiver Mario Alford, also a seventh round draft pick. Alford led the Mountaineers in receiving touchdowns, more than first-round pick Kevin White, but was the 32nd of 33 receivers selected among the 258 draft picks.

It'll be years before those players, and the other late picks and undrafted free agents, prove NFL decision-makers right or wrong.

Here are a few more observations of the draft, which concluded Saturday night:

n The Big 12 Conference was a distance fifth among the power five conferences. The league had 25 players selected in seven rounds, trailing the Southeastern Conference (54), Atlantic Coast Conference (47), Pac-12 (39) and Big Ten (35). Even if the Big 12 added the draft picks from the American Athletic Conference (11), Mountain West (10) and Conference USA (six), the league still would've failed to match the mighty SEC.

n The Mountaineers had four selections: White, offensive lineman Mark Glowinski, defensive end Shaquille Riddick and Alford. That might not seem like a big haul, but it is a rarity in Morgantown. Since the NFL draft cut the number of rounds to seven in 1994, WVU has had four or more draft picks five times: 1996, 1999, 2000, 2011 and this year. The 2011 group, however, did not feature a first-round pick (all fourth round or later). The 2000 class was headlined by tight end Anthony Becht, a first-round pick of the New York Jets.

n If Marshall's Roberts plays a down in the NFL, he'll be the answer to a Holliday trivia question. Holliday, of course, has had his share of draft picks throughout a long career as an assistant and head coach. But his first three draft picks at Marshall - Lee Smith, Mario Harvey and Vinny Curry - were inherited players. Garrett Scott, selected last season, had his NFL career cut short before it began.

Roberts is a Holliday recruit, a 2-star prospect out of Lakeland, Fla., and would be the first Holliday-signed player to play an NFL down since he became a head coach.

n And, finally, watch out for the little guys. There were 33 receivers taken in the three-day draft, eight of whom are shorter than 6-feet tall. This is the way of the NFL.

Last year, six of the top 10 receivers in terms of receptions were 5-foot-11 or shorter. It was the same percentage for receiving yards, too, but if one delves deeper, nine of the top 16 receivers last season were 5-11 or shorter.

This is how the game is evolving.

In 1995, there were four players drafted that were 5-11 or shorter. Only two of the top 10 receivers in catches were that short, and one was the versatile Eric Metcalf. Ten years later, in 2005, again there were four draft picks 5-11 or shorter while four of the top 10 in receptions - Steve Smith, Derrick Mason, Santana Moss and Joey Galloway - were that small.

This bodes well in the coming years for a local product like Ryan Switzer, a two-time Kennedy Award winner and All-American at the University of North Carolina. The UNC athletics website lists Switzer at 5-10 and 185 pounds.

One of Switzer's workout partners, Duke's Jamison Crowder, was a fourth-round pick by the Washington Redskins. He is 5-8 and 185 pounds, and like Switzer contributed to an ACC program at receiver and in the return game.

Kansas State's Tyler Lockett, who torched the Mountaineers for 27 catches, 501 yards and five touchdowns in three Big 12 meetings, was a third-round pick by the Seattle Seahawks. He is 5-10 and 182 pounds.

There were another eight players listed at 6-0 who were drafted, meaning nearly half - 16 of 33 - of all receivers drafted this year aren't even 6-1, much less in the mold of a receiver like WVU's White.

The little guys might not be the first ones off the board on draft day, but the way the league is headed, they're the ones on top of the receiving leaderboards at the end of each season.

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Patriots take Marshall CB Darryl Roberts in 7th round http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150502/DM03/150509847 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150502/DM03/150509847 Sat, 2 May 2015 18:51:28 -0400

from staff reports

There was a reason the New England Patriots made the trip to Huntington to meet with Marshall corner Darryl Roberts.

The defending Super Bowl champions took Roberts in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft with the 247th overall pick. He'll join former teammate Aaron Dobson, a wide receiver the Patriots took in the second round of the 2013 draft.

Roberts was named to the 2014 all-Conference USA first team after breaking up 17 passes and intercepting another. He also finished fifth on the team in tackles with 75 total, adding 3.5 tackles for a loss.

Though he was left out of all-star games and was not invited to the NFL Combine, Roberts started earning a ton of buzz after running a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at his pro day.

Roberts' selection marked the fifth straight season that a Thundering Herd player was picked in the NFL Draft. That's the longest streak since at least one Herd player was taken from 2000-05. No other members of the Herd were drafted this weekend.

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Marshall's Roberts sprints up NFL draft boards http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150429/DM03/150429014 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150429/DM03/150429014 Wed, 29 Apr 2015 22:01:54 -0400 By Derek Redd HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Darryl Roberts was ready to make it into the NFL the hard way. Despite an all-Conference USA first-team season, the Marshall cornerback went without an invitation to a college all-star game. To experience the NFL draft combine, he had to watch it on television. If he had to spend the months leading to the NFL draft convincing teams he was worthy of their consideration, that was fine.

Rather than months, all it took was 4.36 seconds.

That time in the 40-yard dash at Marshall's March pro day opened scouts eyes. Roberts has been pretty popular with NFL teams since then, which bolsters his hopes that his phone will ring sometime this weekend with pro team on the other side of the line.

"They finally know what I'm capable of doing," he said. "That's a good feeling."

The Thundering Herd already knew. Roberts returned to the lineup in 2013 from a broken ankle that robbed him of the entire 2012 season. He helped the Herd's defense cut its points allowed per game from 43.1 in 2012 to 22.9 in 2013, and earned honorable mention all-conference in the process.

His 2014 campaign was even better, helping Marshall's defense allow just 21 points per game on the Herd's way to a 13-1 record, its first Conference USA title and a Boca Raton Bowl win over Mid-American Conference champ Northern Illinois. Roberts was a first team all-C-USA pick last season.

Over his last two years in a Marshall uniform, he recorded 133 tackles, three interceptions and 24 pass breakups. Yet as all-star game invitations were doled out after the season, none hit Roberts' mailbox. Neither did that coveted NFL scouting combine invite.

"I was shocked a little," Roberts said. "I had a pretty decent senior year and had good numbers. But I've always told myself to control what you can control."

He knew he could control his pro day performance. He also knew this could be his one shot at impressing the NFL scouts in attendance. It was the first shot for all 12 Marshall players that day. Roberts had to make it count.

"Pro day was my combine," he said. "I came in with a chip on my shoulder, just trying to prove to them I do deserve to play on the next level."

When Roberts ran his 40s that day, he felt his times were good, but he didn't know for sure. The picture became clearer when he noticed the scouts looking at their stopwatches.

His 4.36-second finish would have ranked him sixth among corners at the NFL combine. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound prospect's other totals were just as impressive. His 23 bench press reps at 225 pounds would have been second among combine corners, as well as his 11-foot-4 broad jump. His 39-inch vertical leap would have been fifth among combine corners.

Those numbers put Roberts squarely on the NFL radar, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said.

"He can really fly," Kiper said. "And when you have that type of speed, you're going to get some attention. And then his performance I watched, I thought it was a little up and down, but I thought the kid showed he could be a pretty good corner in this league. But when you run the times of 40s he did, it's going to push you up."

The pro day numbers were the signal that made NFL teams take notice. And when those scouts dug a little deeper into Roberts' abilities, Marshall defensive coordinator Chuck Heater said, they learned he was more than just a fast guy.

"Now they go back and watch the film," Heater said, "and the film validates it. Once you blow those numbers up like that, it gets your attention. It gets our attention. You have some kid that runs really fast in high school, it gets our attention. Then you go back and see if he can play football. They went back and watched the tape and I'm sure they saw he played good football, because he played great for us."

Since then, Roberts has worked out with and visited several NFL teams. Reports had the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts all interested. The Packers, 49ers and Colts visited Huntington, and the Patriots worked out Roberts inside the school's indoor practice facility last week.

It was dizzying at first, Roberts said, fielding interest from all those teams, traveling to their respective headquarters and interviewing with each general manager and coaching staff. It quickly became fun, talking football and breaking down plays with each team. Marshall coach Doc Holliday said any team that drafted Roberts would get a player who could quickly make an impact.

"He could match up and play one on one and take away the easy access throws," Holliday said. "He was a good tackler, was physical. ... He's going to make some money playing this game."

Roberts fell in love with football during his days in youth leagues in Lakeland, Fla. When he joined the Lakeland High School football team as a freshman, he looked up to seniors like offensive linemen Mike and Maurkice Pouncey, both of whom are NFL Pro Bowlers, and wanted to follow in their footsteps.

This weekend, he'll hang out with his family back home in Florida, waiting for a call. Kiper thinks is could come as early as the fifth or sixth round.

"I wouldn't say guaranteed," Kiper said, "but I'd certainly figure maybe in that area."

Roberts isn't nervous, but he is anxious to see where his professional future might take him. Above all, though, he's proud he was able to shrug off his initial disappointment and work his way onto NFL teams' draft boards.

"I've always worked for everything I've gotten," Roberts said. "I always got the go-hard mentality. I always knew I had to keep grinding through the whole process until I got my opportunity to showcase what I could do."

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

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Will size dash Rakeem Cato's NFL draft chances? http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150429/DM03/150429015 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150429/DM03/150429015 Wed, 29 Apr 2015 22:01:07 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Despite a senior season where he finished as Marshall's career leader in most major passing categories, former Thundering Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato has received very little buzz in the weeks before the NFL draft.

According to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr., though, Cato has the stamp of approval from a pretty credible source.

"I asked Mike Holmgren ... I said, hey, Mike, who was the most impressive player at the all-star game he was involved with as a coach," Kiper said in a recent conference call. "He said Cato was the guy that jumped out at him."

Holmgren, the former Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers head coach and former Cleveland Browns team president, coached Cato in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson, Calif., in January. Cato finished his Herd career with 1,153 completions, 14,079 yards and 131 touchdowns, all school records. But he measured a shade over 6 feet and just 178 pounds at Marshall's pro day.

Of the top 30 quarterbacks in CBSSports.com's 2015 draft list - Cato is ranked 30th - only Oklahoma quarterback Blake Sims is shorter. Cato is the lightest among the top 30 and one of just two under 200 pounds.

Former Marshall quarterback Chad Pennington, who owned most of the Marshall career records that Cato broke, would like to see NFL teams look past Cato's size and at his resume.

"I hope he gets a chance," Pennington said. "I hope players like Russell Wilson and some of these smaller-statured quarterbacks give Rakeem a chance, because he deserves a chance because he's an outstanding player."

While some of his measurables might hurt his draft stock, Kiper still feels Cato could make an NFL roster.

"Does he have chance to get drafted? Maybe not," Kiper said, "but he certainly comes in as a priority undrafted free agent for somebody, and I think he's got a chance."

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Marshall tops WVU in baseball at Power Park http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150428/DM03/150429106 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150428/DM03/150429106 Tue, 28 Apr 2015 23:16:44 -0400 By Derek Redd CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Marshall senior Josh King has been waiting all season to regain the command in his surgically repaired pitching arm. Tuesday night against West Virginia University, it was at its best.

King - in just his second start this season, both against the Mountaineers - struck out six over 5 2/3 innings to lead the Thundering Herd to a 3-2 win over WVU at Appalachian Power Park.

Marshall's win, this third in the last four games, salvaged a split with the Mountaineers (24-18) this season. The Herd (16-27) lost to WVU on April 21, 3-2, at the new Monongalia County Ballpark when reliever Kolin Stanley walked in the winning run.

King, who started much of the season at second base, is coming off Tommy John surgery. To enjoy a win with another solid start made the night even more satisfying.

"To come out here and face them twice and have a fairly decent outing both times is big time," King said. "Usually, you see guys one, two, three times, they start picking things up. To be able to face them two outings in a row and be just as efficient is huge for me."

King, who entered Tuesday's game with a 7.43 ERA, held the Mountaineers at bay before running out of steam in the sixth. He had a solid start last week versus WVU, lasting 5 1/3 innings and giving up two runs on three hits in the Herd's loss. He lasted one out longer Tuesday.

Shaun Corso ended King's shutout bid on the first pitch he saw in the sixth, launching it over the left field fence for his second home run of the season. He walked Taylor Munden in the next at bat, and Munden got to second on a King wild pitch. A Kyle Davis single to left scored Munden from there and ended King's night. He allowed two runs on four hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking two.

"My fastball, I had it working on both sides of the plate, down in the zone," King said. "Anytime you can do that, I think I threw maybe five or six breaking balls the entire game. Just being able to throw the fast ball in, out, up, down, wherever I wanted to, that was a big thing."

Marshall coach Jeff Waggoner said he's tried to keep King's pitch count low in his 11 appearances in an attempt to get his arm back to where it was. He said King's velocity still isn't back to its previous levels, but the senior's return to the mound has been crucial for the Herd's fortunes.

"The two things that have helped our ball club more than anything else is getting (starting pitcher) Chase Boster back and healthy and Josh King," he said. "That really helps your bullpen and we're playing great defense. Anytime you can do that, you have a chance to win games."

WVU coach Randy Mazey said King earned his respect over the last two games, performing so well so soon after a major surgery.

"Usually, you're not as good at that point until you hit the year mark (after Tommy John surgery)," Mazey said. "And you get really good at 18 months. He's doing really well, and I'm happy for that kid. Anytime a kid gets injured like that, you want to see him recover. He dominated us with his fastball tonight. We had some hitters that were pretty hot coming into this thing."

While Marshall's bats were relatively quiet against WVU last week, the Herd jumped out to an early lead Tuesday night. The Mountaineers barely missed its second double play of the game, as Sergio Leon beat the throw to first. That kept the second inning alive, and Marshall took advantage.

The Herd scored three runs with two down in bottom of that inning. Matt Reed drove in Leon on a single to left. Robert Fajardo singled up the middle to score Tyler Ratliff and Reed came home on a passed ball. That was enough to chase WVU starter Shane Ennis, who gave up three runs on five hits in two innings.

"You never really know," Leon said of his pivotal sprint to first. "I saw it coming off the bat really slow, so I was like, let me get it down the line. It's baseball. You never really know. One thing can lead into another."

Waggoner said Tuesday's win was a nice confidence boost for his team heading into this weekend's three-game Conference USA series at Southern Mississippi. Marshall has taken its last three weekend series and is trying to climb into qualifying for the C-USA tournament.

WVU will try to rebound Wednesday at Radford before hosting Texas Christian for a three-game weekend series. The Mountaineers have lost six of their last nine, and Mazey is looking for any opportunity to reverse their fortunes.

"Baseball people are superstitious people by nature," he said. "I'm gonna put the other sock on the other foot tomorrow and see if we play any better tomorrow because of it."

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

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Marshall defense has plenty of production to replace http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150428/DM03/150429108 DM03 http://www.charlestondailymail.com/article/20150428/DM03/150429108 Tue, 28 Apr 2015 23:13:47 -0400 By Derek Redd HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The Marshall football team's defense enters the offseason needing to fill plenty of holes left by some talented players. Linebackers coach Adam Fuller knows all too well, as he searches for people to step into the roles relinquished by Neville Hewitt and Jermaine Holmes.

And don't think he doesn't let his current linebacking corps know it, either.

"I use that a lot in our room," Fuller said. "I say, listen, these guys had their best year of football, they're both 3.0 students, they're both all-conference players. They were the first ones in the meeting, they went hard in practice. Everything was important to them."

There are holes to fill all over the field for the Thundering Herd defense, which went from liability in 2012 to strength in 2014. Marshall wants to maintain that strength for its defense of its Conference USA title in 2015.

The list of departed defensive players - which helped the Herd finish 18th in the Football Bowl Subdivision in scoring defense last season - is studded with talent.

n Hewitt, all-C-USA first-team pick and the 2014 conference defensive player of the year.

n Defensive lineman James Rouse, all-C-USA first team pick and 2014 preseason conference defensive player of the year.

n Corner Darryl Roberts, all-C-USA first-team pick and a player climbing up NFL draft boards.

Add to that a pair of all-conference second-teamers in Holmes and defensive end Arnold Blackmon and honorable mention all-C-USA defensive end Ra'Shawde Myers. From those six players alone, Marshall has lost 429 of its tackles, 58.5 of its 105 tackles for loss, 21.5 of its 38 sacks and 23 of its 58 pass breakups from last season.

That much production is difficult to replicate, but Marshall coach Doc Holliday and defensive coordinator Chuck Heater have told the Herd's defense it must be up to the challenge.

"Coach Holliday and Coach Heater were throwing that in our heads during mat drills and workouts," fifth-year corner Keith Baxter said. "You've got to step up. Guys have got to step up on defense because our leaders are gone.

"I came in and looked around and was like, wow, I've got to go now," he added. "So we've just gone hard all spring to fill those guys' shoes and do our job."

The transition wasn't always easy this spring, especially since players expected to be key contributors this fall - corner Corey Tindal, linebacker Evan McKelvey and defensive linemen Jarquez Samuel and Steve Dillon among them - saw little to no full contact through the 15 practices. Marshall's offense took advantage, for instance, averaging 5.34 yards per carry in the two scrimmages and spring game. The Herd held opponents to 3.8 yards per carry in 2014.

Things started looking up for the defense during Saturday's spring game, where the unit acclimated to the soggy weather before the offense could gain a foothold. Marshall's defense got plenty of pressure in the backfield, recording six touch "sacks," including Ryan Bee's for a safety. It also batted down three passes and linebacker Chase Hancock intercepted a pass for touchdown. Linebacker Raheim Huskey also recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.

"Defensively, I hope they're as good as they played," Holliday said after the spring game. "They played extremely well and made some plays."

Fuller was happy to see the defense slow things down and cut down on big plays.

"There were a lot of third downs and they weren't third-and-shorts," Fuller said. "They were third-and-mediums and we got off the field."

Fuller said the defense's mission, now that team practices won't begin again until August's preseason camp, is to prepare the younger and less experienced players for the larger roles they'll have to embrace. The coaches know players like Tindal, Samuel, McKelvey, linebacker D.J. Hunter and safeties A.J. Leggett and Taj Letman will be ready. But others - like Hancock, who impressed Fuller this spring - must shed newcomer labels and accept the challenge.

"There are certain guys we know are going to be really good players and we have to continue to develop them," Fuller said. "They've got to develop leadership, but there are so many guys who haven't played a lot of football for us on defense. They've got to develop."

Contact sportswriter Derek Redd at derek.redd@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-1712. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/marshall. Follow him on Twitter @derekredd.

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