Dec. 10, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - The All-Conference USA football team announced Tuesday was an affirmation and confirmation for the Marshall program.
The recruiting acumen and hustle by coach Doc Holliday and his staff are making a difference.
Holliday's 2013 team (9-4) heads for the Dec. 27 Military Bowl to face Maryland (7-5) with 21 selections on the all-conference and C-USA All-Freshman Teams. In Holliday's first three seasons guiding the Herd (2010-12), the number of total picks was 8, 6 and 17.
This time, Marshall had four first team picks, five on the second team, seven honorable mentions and five on the all-freshman team - four of those on defense. Nickel back Corey Tindal was named honorable mention and All-Freshman, so 20 Marshall players were honored in the balloting by the 14 C-USA coaches.
With a 9-4 season to date and a first C-USA East Division title and conference championship game appearance, Holliday was more satisfied than surprised with the ballot-box decisions by he and his peers.
"I just think it's a great tribute to our players," Holliday said. "We have a lot of deserving kids that were voted to all-conference and it's great to see that many of them. And the other thing is so many of them are young guys, so that's good to see for our future."
Only six of the 16 all-conference picks will finish their eligibility in the Military Bowl at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.
Marshall's first team members included one repeater from 2012 - slot receiver Tommy Shuler. The other picks were center Chris Jasperse, tight end Gator Hoskins and defensive tackle James Rouse.
Hoskins was a second team pick in 2012, while Jasperse was honorable mention. Rouse missed the 2012 season (and most of 2011) rehabbing from multiple surgeries.
The 2013 second team selections for the Herd were quarterback Rakeem Cato, offensive tackles Garrett Scott and Clint Van Horn, linebacker Jermaine Holmes and punt returner Devon Smith.
Marshall had nine selections on the two all-conference squads. Only league champion Rice (10-3), which defeated Marshall in the C-USA title game, had more (10) than the Herd. Ten of the 14 schools had first team selections.
"Anytime you get this kind of exposure, all-conference, bowls, that helps our recruiting, too," Holliday said. "And anytime you get the opportunity play a team the caliber of Maryland on national TV, on ESPN, it's huge for us."
The Terps will be playing their last football game as an ACC member before heading to the Big Ten. The Military Bowl is the only football game telecast that Friday afternoon. ESPN follows with two more bowls (Texas and Fight Hunger) that night.
"One game on, it's going to be great exposure for our program," the Herd coach said. "It will help us all over the country."
The MU honorable mentions went to defensive ends Alex Bazzie and Ra'Shawde Myers, cornerbacks Darryl Roberts and Monterius Lovett, running back Essray Taliaferro, linebacker Evan McKelvey and Tindal.
Holliday he hoped for better for his two starting cornerbacks.
"Darryl Roberts, I'm not sure there isn't a better corner in the conference," Holliday said. "I thought he should have been up there. He and Pac (Lovett), what we ask of them to as far as our defense is concerned, I thought they played extremely well, and I was a little disappointed those guys especially weren't on the first or second team.
"And Evan McKelvey is a guy who played extremely well at linebacker for us. But they'll have opportunities -- with the exception of Pac (a senior) -- to be honored again next year. I'd just like to see Lovett on there because he's been such a senior leader for us, and done just a tremendous job this season."
On the All-Freshman Team, the Herd's five selections were tops among C-USA. Twelve of the 14 schools were represented. No other team had more than three on the 26-player team.
The Marshall picks were center/guard Michael Selby, defensive end Gary Thompson, linebacker Stefan Houston, safety A.J. Leggett, and Tindal.
"It's great to see that number on there over all those teams," Holliday said. "We've got another opportunity to go out there and play and make another statement for our program."
Conference USA will announce seven individual awards on Wednesday - MVP, offensive, defensive, special teams players of the year; freshman and newcomer of the year; and coach of the year.
THE HERD ON ALL-CONFERENCE USA
A look at Marshall's All-Conference USA football selections since the Thundering Herd joined the league in 2005:
2013 - (4) Chris Jasperse, OL; Gator Hoskins, TE; Tommy Shuler, WR; James Rouse, DT.
2012 - (2) Rakeem Cato, QB; Tommy Shuler, WR.
2011 - (2) Vinny Curry, DL; Omar Brown, DB.
2010 - (2) Vinny Curry, DL; Mario Harvey, LB.
2009 - (4) Cody Slate, TE; Mario Harvey, LB; Craig Ratanamorn, PK; Sean McClellan, LS.
2008 - (1) Albert McClellan, DL.
2007 - (1) Doug Legursky, OL.
2006 - (4) Ahmad Bradshaw, RB; Doug Legursky, OL; Albert McClellan, DL; Curtis Keyes, DB.
2005 - None.
2013 - (5) Rakeem Cato, QB; Garrett Scott, OL; Clint Van Horn, OL; Jermaine Holmes, LB; Devon Smith, PR.
2012 - (3) Gator Hoskins, TE; Aaron Dobson, WR; Dominick LeGrande, DB.
2011 - None.
2010 - (2) Chad Schofield, OL; Lee Smith, TE.
2009 - (3) Darius Marshall, RB; Daniel Baldridge, OL; Albert McClellan, DL.
2008 - (5) Darius Marshall, RB; Brian Leggett, OL; Darius Passmore, WR; Maurice Kitchens, LB; C.J. Spillman, DB.
2007 - (2) Cody Slate, TE; C.J. Spillman, DB.
2006 - None.
2005 - (3) Ahmad Bradshaw, RB; Doug Legursky, OL; Chris Hawkins, DB.
2013 - (7) Essray Taliaferro, RB; Alex Bazzie, DL; Ra'Shawde Myers, DL; Evan McKelvey, LB; Monterius Lovett, DB; Darryl Roberts, DB; Corey Tindal, DB.
2012 - (8) Chris Jasperse, OL; Jordan Jeffries, OL; Alex Schooler, OL; Antavious Wilson, WR; Alex Bazzie, DL; Brandon Sparrow, DL; Okechukwu Okoroha, DB; Justin Haig, K.
2011 - (2) Ryan Tillman, OL; Aaron Dobson, WR.
2010 - (3) Aaron Dobson, WR; Donald Brown, DB; Omar Brown, DB.
2009 - (6) Chad Schofield, OL; Lee Smith, TE; Vinny Curry, DL; Michael Janac, DL; DeQuan Bembry, DB; Ashton Hall, DB.
2008 - (4) Cody Slate, TE; Michael Janac, DL; Mario Harvey, LB; Darius Marshall, KR.
2007 - (4) Bernard Morris, QB; Byron Tinker, DL; Maurice Kitchens, LB; Emmanuel Spann, PR.
2006 - (3) Cody Slate, TE; Matt Couch, LB; Josh Johnson, LB.
2005 - Third team chosen instead of honorable mention; no Marshall players on third team.
2013 - (5) Michael Selby, OL; Gary Thompson, DL; Stefan Houston, LB; A.J. Leggett, DB; Corey Tindal, DB.
2012 - (4) Kevin Grooms, RB; Cameron Dees, OL; D.J. Hunter, LB; Tyler Williams, P.
2011 - (2) Travon Van, RB; Chris Jasperse, OL.
2010 - (1) Marques Aiken, DL.
2009 - (1) Antavious Wilson, WR.
2008 - (3) C.J. Wood, OL; DeQuan Bembry, DB; Tyler Warner, PK.
2007 - (2) Darius Marshall, RB; Josh Evans, OL.
2006 - (2) Cody Slate, TE; Zearrick Matthews, DB.
2005 - (2) Albert McClellan, DE; Marty Biagi, P.