May 24, 2013
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Marshall had 16 players named to Phil Steele’s four preseason All-Conference USA football teams on Friday, including a league-high seven to the first team.
Quarterback Rakeem Cato, wide receiver Tommy Shuler, tight end Gator Hoskins, center Chris Jasperse, defensive end Jeremiah Taylor, safety D.J. Hunter and punter Tyler Williams all made the first team.
Wideout Devon Smith and linebacker Jermaine Holmes were selected to the second team, while running back Kevin Grooms, offensive tackle Gage Niemeyer and defensive end Alex Bazzie were named to the third team.
Offensive guard Josh Lovell, defensive tackle Brandon Sparrow, linebacker Kent Turene and cornerback Derrick Thomas were fourth-team honorees.
Cato was the league’s MVP last season, while Hoskins had 10 touchdown catches and Shuler had a school-record 110 receptions. Jasperse has been the Herd’s mainstay at center for the past two seasons. Defensively, Taylor was a team captain who had 54 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss and a team-high 5.5 sacks. Hunter was a Freshman All-American selection who had 102 stops and Williams, another Freshman All-American, was the only Ray Guy Award semifinalist in C-USA.
Smith is a transfer from Penn State and will contribute in the slot for the Thundering Herd. Holmes made 82 tackles, including a team-high 13 tackles for loss.
Grooms was the league’s Freshman of the Year a season ago, racking up 737 yards and eight touchdowns. Niemeyer saw action in all 12 games and started five, while Bazzie piled up 80 tackles, including nine for loss.
Lovell has started seven games for the Herd along the offensive line. Sparrow became a force on the defensive front last season, totaling 52 tackles, including nine for loss and five sacks. Turene made an impact in the spring, despite missing most of it due to injury, while Thomas, another Penn State transfer, started eight games and made 53 stops in 2012.
The Thundering Herd will kick off its 2013 season at home against Miami (Ohio) on Saturday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. in a game that will be televised by CBS Sports Network.
Total Phil Steele Preseason All-Conference USA Honorees (First Team)
East Carolina-17 (5)
North Texas-7 (1)
Louisiana Tech-6 (3)
Southern Miss-5 (2)
Middle Tennessee-5 (1)