Please Note: This Christmas Wish List does not reflect the thoughts or feelings of the Marshall coaching staff, but reflect the thoughts of Wade Peery the Publisher of HerdNation.com.
They say it's the most wonderful time of the year. Well here at HerdNation I've decided to unveil what I think is the Christmas Wish List for in choosing the most coveted remaining prospects at a few different positions.
This list is for the class of 2011 for Marshall football and they are ranked in no particular order.
HerdNation Christmas Wish List
1. Running Back--Chevelle Buie--Cocoa High School (Cocoa, Fla.)--He might be the most talented player on this list. Blessed with a lethal combination of speed, acceleration, and cutting ability, Buie is ranked as the fifth best running back in America according to Rivals.com. Marshall fans and coaches dream of Buie lining up in the same backfield with running back Travon Van down the road, which could very well form the best backfield in C-USA and one of the best backfields in college football, if the blocking up front is there. He rushed for over 1,600 yards last season and hauled in over 300 receiving yards, putting his all-around game on fine display. Cocoa still won their third consecutive state championship with him sitting on the sidelines recently, but that doesn't mean he didn't play a huge role in bringing those titles to Cocoa High. This season Buie dazzled fans with over 1,300 rushing yards and was recently named a finalist for Mr. Football in the state of Florida. He's drawn comparisons to Florida speedster running back Jeff Demps because of his smaller stature and speed. Marshall is in excellent position to land the services of the superstar running back. There might not be a player on this list who could have as big of an impact on the Marshall football program as Buie. Not only is he the most talented player remaining on Marshall's board, but he also has one of the most fitting name. If Santa could put Chevelle Buie on the sled Marshall fans would erupt with glee and with good reason. The four-star running back is a big-time playmaker and will make quite a splash if he lands in Huntington. Ultimately Marshall has a very good chance at landing Buie and it's not even a dream or a wish. It's very close to happening and this writer thinks it's only a matter of time before Chevelle Buie becomes the crown jewel in Marshall's 2011 recruiting class. If Marshall does land the services of Buie, you have to give Sean Cronin a ton of credit because he's been putting in a lot of work on him.
MU chance at landing him: 90 percent
2. Wide Receiver--Kelvin Benjamin--Glades Central High School (Belle Glade, Fla.)--If Buie is the most talented player on this list, then Kelvin Benjamin is not far behind. Blessed with superior size at 6'6, 210 lbs. many people have Benjamin destined for the NFL someday. There's an old saying that you can't teach size and Benjamin is oozing with it. While Marshall did land an official visit from Benjamin, they appear to be a longshot in the Benjamin sweepstakes since the Glades Central star appears to be enamored with the Florida schools in Florida and Florida State. The race seems to be down to those two, but Marshall fans can always dream right? Benjamin is a big-time receiver who would dominate C-USA corners from day one if he were to shock everybody and end up in Huntington. While he appears headed elsewhere, there is still an outside chance Marshall could land the services of the dominant possession receiver. That's why Marshall fans must employ the services of the man in the big red suit to come down the chimney and bring them a receiver who can consistently catch the football.
MU chance at landing him: 20 percent
3. Wide Receiver--Davonte Allen--Glades Central High School (Belle Glade, Fla.)--This is the one position on the HerdNation Christmas List where I've decided to put more than one prospect. Due to the number of targets at the receiver position, I felt the need to put more than one player in this slot. I could just as easily put South Plantation wide receiver Robbie Anderson in this slot, but he narrowly missed the cut. The Glades Central receiver is very sure-handed and played a huge role in the Glades Central Raiders getting to the state championship game against Cocoa High recently. The Marshall receiving corps' hands were inconsistent all season and the MU coaching staff has made every effort to bring in a big-time playmaker at the receiver position. With Levern Jacobs already in the fold, the addition of a receiver like Davonte Allen would upgrade the Herd's receiving corps for years to come. While he might not be as hyped and well publicized as his Glades Central counterpart Mr. Benjamin, there's no disputing the importance of a big-time receiver like Davonte Allen to the 2011 class for MU. Marshall has been in excellent shape with the standout receiver for quite some time. He's taking visits to South Florida and West Virginia in January and many Marshall fans might be waiting on pins and needles, but I will not. I predict he'll ultimately end up choosing Marshall University.
MU chance at landing him: 90 percent
4. Linebacker--Robert Way--Glades Central High School (Belle Glade, Fla.)--There might not be a player on this entire list that is dripping with the jaw-dropping amount of versatility that Robert Way has put on display for the Raiders the past couple of years. Go ahead and think of the last time you've heard of a high school prospect be able to play both the defensive end and safety positions. Keep on thinking because a player with a skill set like Way's comes along once in a blue moon. Recruited to play linebacker for Marshall University, Way would help upgrade a Marshall linebacking corps that is losing the dominant exploits of Mario Harvey to the NFL. He's stated publicly time and time again that Marshall is his leader, MU fans, players, coaches, and media alike are just waiting for him to pull the trigger and make it official. Despite his versatility and his production at Glades Central, Way has largely flown under the radar nationally. Marshall fans would love to see him don Green and White and this writer thinks it is only a matter of time before Way announces his intentions to play at MU. The all-time sacks leader at Glades Central would be a huge land for defensive coordinator Chris Rippon because it would give him a dominant pass-rushing threat.
MU chance at landing him: 90 percent
5. Tight End--Eric Frohnapfel--Colonial Forge High School (Stafford, Virginia)--Certainly there are more talented players on this list but if you look at his position from a national perspective there are very few tight ends as gifted as Colonial Forge's Eric Frohnapfel. Many people out there might think that the MU staff won't be taking a tight end in the 2011 class, but if they have the opportunity to bring in a player of Frohnapfel's caliber, they surely won't pass him up. It's been critical in this race that his brother and MU class of 2011 commitment Blake Frohnapfel has been pushing for him to switch his commitment to MU. While Eric is currently committed to West Virginia, there have been rumors swirling that the sure-handed tight end might be wavering in his commitment to the Mountaineers. Add in the fact that West Virginia has a new offensive coordinator in Dana Holgerson who doesn't exactly utilize the tight end and you have yourself a recipe for an intriguing story. The key question is can Marshall sway the gifted tight end from West Virginia? Many subscribers on the HerdNation message board have wondered about this for quite some time and I'm not sure if there is a player out there that is more coveted by the HerdNation audience. He's easily one of the most mentioned prospects on the message boards and it is clear that if he ends up with his brother Blake Frohnapfel, keyboards all across Huntington will erupt in glee. Clearly, there are few players that would make Marshall's fans Christmas better. He was recently named a First-Team All-Met selection by The Washington Post after he hauled in over 600 receiving yards this season for the Eagles. Frohnapfel is a special talent and will be a big-time player on the next level as long as he goes to a school which utilizes his talents properly. Marshall has a good history of using the tight ends with players such as Cody Slate and Lee Smith coming through Huntington. There was a period a few months ago where I thought Eric Frohnapfel switching his commitment from West Virginia to Marshall was a pipe dream, but those thoughts have changed and changed dramatically in the past few months and the coaching change only helped to shake things up in MU's favor even more. This will be an incredibly tough decision for him, but I feel like Marshall has an extremely good chance in pulling him to Huntington. Herd fans are quivering with excitement that Santa or Phil Ratliff help bring them one of the most talented tight ends in the country. Only time will tell in this one, ultimately I feel like the forces of being a star at MU with his brother pull him to Marshall.
MU chance of landing him: 60 percent
6. Defensive End--Troy Timmerman--Covington Catholic High School (Florence, Ky.)--Troy Timmerman is one of the higher defensive lineman on the MU staff's board. He's definitely one of the most talented defensive lineman Marshall is targeting. He garnered a lot of publicity and attention when he returned a fumble for over 90 yards for a touchdown against Highlands last year. Timmerman displays excellent technique at the position and is remarkably fast for somebody his size. It's no wonder he got so much attention for the touchdown return because it is quite rare to see a defensive end with that level of athleticism and speed in the open field. Timmerman has played his cards close to the vest throughout the entire process and has been a tough to get a hold of in recent weeks. Led by lead recruiter Sean Cronin, Marshall has made a hard push for the Kentucky high school standout's services, but ultimately it appears those efforts will only land them second place in the race. Timmerman's father went to Air Force and in one interview with HerdNation he even discussed how he liked the discipline of the academy. The race was pretty much down to Air Force and Marshall the entire time, but ultimately I see Marshall losing out in this race in a close one. Not even Santa can help in this one. Is it out of the question that he chooses MU? Absolutely not, but at this point it appears highly unlikely.
MU chance of landing him: 30 percent
7. Quarterback--Rakeem Cato--Miami Central High School (Miami, Fla.)--For the longest time the Marshall coaching staff was only going to take one quarterback in the 2011 class and that guy was going to be class of 2011 commitment Blake Frohnapfel. That has changed in recent months and the staff has actively pursued the services of Miami Central's Rakeem Cato who recently led his Miami Central Rockets to a Class 6A State Championship over Dr. Phillips. Cato committed to Florida International University over the summer but will be taking a visit to Huntington on the weekend of January 14th. Will MU be able to sway the talented signal-caller? It doesn't hurt Marshall that Miami Central teammate Tommy Shuler will be enrolling at MU in January. While I haven't gotten to break down any film of Cato, the staff is very high on him. He's put up some big-time numbers in leading a top-notch program against some very tough competition in the state of Florida. There are rumblings that the staff is in very good position with Cato. I really like Marshall's chances in this race.
MU chance at landing him: 70 percent
8. Offensive lineman--Ben Curtis--Calvert Hall High School (Baltimore, Md.)--Out of all the prospects on the wish list, I don't know if any of them has more upside than Ben Curtis. He's ultra-talented and when you watch film of him it's easy to see why there were so many people raving about him at the Crab Bowl practices recently. Blessed with tremendous footwoork for somebody his size, Curtis has great potential along the offensive line at the Division I-A (FBS) level. He'll be a steal for whoever lands him and Marshall is in the hunt for his services thanks to having wide receivers' coach Zach Smith as his lead recruiter. Smith has done a phenomenal job in recruiting the D.C. area and his home state of Ohio for the Herd. Curtis is an under-the-radar guy who is only 270 pounds, but once he gets around 30 pounds on his frame could turn into a very special player. It's tough to tell what MU's chances are in this race, but you know with Zach Smith on top of it the Herd coaching staff will be giving it their best effort. Players like Travon Van can't become special players without the proper blocking at the line of scrimmage and a talent like Ben Curtis would go a long way in helping the Herd's unit for years to come. Time will tell with Curtis.
MU chance at landing him: 50 percent
That's it for now folks!
As always remember that HerdNation is your premiere source for Marshall football recruiting coverage!
Wade Peery is the Publisher of HerdNation.com and can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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