By Woody Woodrum
Herd Insider Senior Editor
January 21, 2011
HUNTINGTON - Valdosta (Ga.) High School has been a treasure chest of commitments for the Marshall Thundering Herd football recruiting coaches this past week.
Middle linebacker Jermaine Holmes gave a verbal commitment to Marshall this past Thursday, after fellow Valdosta standout Jarquez Samuel gave the Herd a verbal earlier in the week.
Holmes, standing in at 5-foot-11, 230-pounds, is rated a 3-star prospect by Rivals.com and Scout.com.
He also had offers from Illinois, Louisville, South Alabama and MU Conference USA rival UCF.
This past season Holmes was a second-team All-State linebacker. He made 67 tackles (47 solo), had 15 sacks and tackles for loss, forced two fumbles, recovered two fumbles and had three pass breakups.
Those impressive numbers earned him the Region 1-AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year award.
Scout.com listed Holmes strengths as instincts, lateral movement and toughness, while he would have to work on pass coverage skills at the next level.
Jermaine Holmes is the latest commitment for Thundering Herd football. Holmes is 5-foot-11, 230-pounds and was also recruited by Louisville, South Alabama and UCF. photo courtesy of Scout.com
According to Scott Kennedy of Scout.com: “An instinctive middle linebacker, Holmes makes plays from sideline to sideline. He has good straight ahead quickness and his anticipation makes him seem a step quicker than everyone else. Strong at the point of attack and able to shed blockers well, Holmes is a big asset against the run.”
Doc Holliday and his Marshall staff brought in a big group of recruits this past weekend, as the days wind down before the signing day of Feb. 2.
One of the recruits in this weekend is Eric Frohnapfel, a tight end who had been an early verbal for Coach Bill Stewart at WVU.
He is the brother of Herd commitment and quarterback, Blake Frohnapfel. The twins had initially planned to go to separate in-state schools but the coaching transition at WVU has opened the door for Marshall, who wanted both players from the get-go.
Eric Frohnapfel is a 6-foot-6 tight end and brother of Blake, a Herd commitment at quarterback. Eric originally committed to West Virginia, but with the change in coaches may be switching his commitment, and Marshall has wanted both brothers from the get-go. Photo courtesy of Rivals.com
This weekend’s list, in alphabetical order:
*Chris Alston is a wide receiver, 5-foot-11 and 175-pounds. He plays at Fairfield Central H.S. in Winnsboro, S.C.
Alston is committed to the Herd, but will “gray-shirt” until 2012 because of rehab for an injured knee.
*Steward Butler is a running back, 5-foot-10 and 170-pounds from Lakeland H.S. in Lakeland, Florida. Butler is a three-star recruits who is committed to Arizona State, but still at least listening to offers.
*Austin Dumas is a punter who stands 6-foot-1 and weighs 185-pounds. He played at Bradenton Christian H.S., in Bradenton, Fla. Probably an invited walk-on, with future scholarship prospects.
*Blake Frohnapfel is the twin who plays quarterback and is already committed to the Thundering Herd. He stands 6-foot-5, weighs 210-pounds and played with his brother at Colonial Forge H.S. in Stafford, Va. Blake is a two-star recruit.
*Eric Frohnapfel is the tight end who is still, for now, committed to West Virginia. He is 6-foot-6, 210-pounds and is a three-star recruit.
*Pierria Henry is being recruited by both Marshall football, as wide receiver, and by Tom Herrion and Marshall basketball, at guard. He is 6-foot-3, 180-pounds and an exceptional athlete at South Charleston H.S., living in Charleston, W.Va. Henry was originally committed to Virginia Commenwealth in hoops, but might play both sports with the Thundering Herd.
*LaVern Jacobs III is a wide receiver who is committed to the Herd. Jacobs stands 6-foot and weights 162-pounds. He is a two-star recruit from Suitland H.S. in District Heights, Md., just outside of Washington, D.C.
*Jamar Lewter is another recruit already committed to the Herd, but taking his official visit. An offensive lineman, Lewter is 6-foot-8, 280-pounds out of Ballou H.S. in Washington, D.C. A three-star rated players, he originally gave North Carolina a verbal before switching to Marshall.
*Lawrence Martin could provide the Herd instant help up front. He is an offensive lineman from Merced Junior College in Merced, California. The junior college lineman is 6-foot-3, 290-pounds. He was named to the Region II All-California First Team Offense. California has 71 junior colleges, and picks an All-American team and six regional teams.
*Trenton Martin is another player who has committed to Marshall but is taking his official visit. The placekicker is 6-foot-2, 210-pounds and is a two-star recruit from Kellam H.S. in Virginia Beach, Va. He will be an invited walk-on with future scholarship prospects.
*Jeremy Pierce is committed to Troy University, but still taking his official Marshall visit. An offensive lineman, Pierce is 6-foot-4, 300-pounds out of Jones County Junior College in Ellisville, Miss.
*Rakim Reed is a tight end who is 6-foot-4, 210-pounds. He is ranked as a three-star recruit from Timken Senior H.S. in Canton, Ohio. Reed is being recruited by MU wide receivers coach Zach Smith.
*Tommy Shuler is already enrolled at Marshall for the spring semester, but this will be his “official” visit. The wide receiver, 5-foot-9 and 182-pounds, will go through spring football with the Herd. Shuler is a three-star recruit out of Miami Central HS, Miami, Fla. and is a teammate of fellow Herd commit, quarterback Rakeem Cato.
Earlier last week, Remi Watson announced he was committing to the Thundering Herd. He is a three-star running back, as per both Scout.com and Rivals.com, and was ranked as the 113th best back in the nation by Scout.com.
During his senior season Watson rushed for over 1,616 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was also The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla. newspaper) Player of the Year as a junior (1,410 rushing yards, 16 touchdowns / 314 receiving yards and 6 TD's).
He rushed for 155 yards in the 21-3 win over Kathleen the first week of December. The senior scored on a 42-yard run among his 16 carries.
Watson had scholarship offers to FCS-Georgia Southern, C-USA rival UCF and Western Kentucky, Ouio and South Florida before giving his commitment to Marshall after last weekend’s visit.
Watson was Second Team All-State for 4A classification, and named First Team All-Polk County this season.
Before last football season, Watson was arrested in conjunction with a Lakeland, Fla. armed robbery but was cleared of all charges.
He was recruited to MU by coaches Sean Cronin and JaJuan Seider.
Watson was part of big recruiting weekend on Jan. 15-17 that began paying dividends on Sunday, when the Herd received three verbal (or non-binding) commitments from three other top-drawer defensive players.
Giving Herd coaches a verbal commitment to sign with the Thundering Herd on Feb. 2 were:
Armonze Daniel is a 6-foot-4, 240-pound, outside linebacker from Avon (Ind.) High School. Daniel is rated as a 3-star recruit (on a 1-to-4 star scale) by both Scout.com and Rivals.com, and is ranked as the 12th best outside linebacker among high school players in the nation by ESPN.com, 15th by Rivals.com and 24th best by Scout.com.
Although Daniel was planning on visiting Illinois and Iowa State in the next two weekends, but he has cancelled those visits.
Daniel was receiving offers from the Big Ten’s Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Purdue, where he visited on Dec. 3. Other schools pursuing Daniel were the Big 12’s Iowa State, Toledo of the Mid-American Conference and Cincinnati of the Big East.
Daniel is originally from Tuscaloosa, Ala. and reportedly wanted to compete in a conference in the south, and was impressed by the Marshall University “HELP” program, according to Chuck Landon of Huntington’s The Herald-Dispatch on Monday, Jan. 17.
Daniel had 80 solo tackles, two forced fumbles and three interceptions last season, amazingly in just four games due to a ruptured spleen.
ESPN.com had this to say about Daniel: “Daniel is a dominant presence against both the run and pass. Has the athleticism and size for the outside linebacker position at the major level of competition. This is a flexible athlete capable of playing in space with agility and balance; shows very good K&D recognition skills vs. the run and pass. Possesses the playing strength to take on and defeat blockers while also displaying the quickness to avoid contact when working to the point of attack; demonstrates the ability to play downhill and stack the inside run. Moves through traffic well with excellent lateral pursuit habits; this is a tough guy who can never be counted out of a play. His pass coverage skills are advanced at this stage of his career; shows good route awareness; can crossover for depth while getting his eyes on the QB. Demonstrates the athleticism to press and run with receivers; can come off coverage and react to the thrown ball; his interceptions indicate very good ball skills; can turn, locate and catch at the high point. We like his tough wrap tackling ability; can and will punish if given the opportunity. This prospect has the motor to make game changing plays and should be a productive player on special teams. Daniel may not be an immediate starter when he steps on campus however unless a red shirt year is necessary we see early playing time for this player.”
Daniel, second youngest of eight brothers and sisters, has a younger brother who may want to follow Armonze in college and has already received ten offers as a sophomore. He is the younger brother of former Georgia linebacker Montez Robinson.
Daniel plans to major in business and hopes to open a restaurant one day. “I’m a chef,” he told Scout.com. “I can cook anything. I want to own my own restaurant, so I need to learn how to run a business.”
Daniel reports a 2.5 core grade point average, a 13 on the ACT and a 710 SAT, but figures to retake those tests and improve his scores.
As far as on the field, Daniel is confident.
“I can make plays in open space,” Daniel said. “I hate missing tackles, and I have good range. I can read the offense, and I run (well) sideline-to-sideline.
“I want to improve my leadership skills. I’d like to be more versatile and move better.”
Daniel was recruited by MU coach Phil Ratliff.
Jarquez Samuel is a 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end from Valdosta (Ga.) High School. Samuel is rated as a 3-star recruit by both Rivals.com and Scout.com, and is considered the 54 best defensive end prospect in the nation by those services, 52nd by ESPN.com.
He has offers from West Virginia and Louisville of the Big East, LSU of the SEC, FCS-SubDivision Murray State and Conference USA rivals East Carolina and UAB.
Samuel has the size to become tackle or swing lineman, like former outstanding MU defensive lineman Michael Janac did his first few years here before last year’s senior season.
According to Scout.com, Samuel has strengths in, “Intensity, Effort, Size and Strength, but must work on Change of Direction and on Techniques and Moves,” according to Scott Kennedy for Scout.com.
“A big strong side end that could possibly move inside and play defensive tackle on the next level, Samuel plays with good strength and awareness. He does a good job of getting penetration into the backfield and using his wingspan to knock passes down if he doesn't beat his man. Shows good effort on plays going away from him and gets a lot of second-effort tackles.”
Joe Massaquoi is a 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virgina, the school featured in the movie, “Remember The Titans.”
Massaquoi is rated a 2-star recruit by Rivals.com, and is considered a “late bloomer” on the scene but his offer list was getting interesting with ACC schools and Big East schools getting in late.
Herd coaches jumped on him early in the process, stayed with him and it appears to have paid off.
He averaged 3.8 tackles per game and .33 quarterback sacks per contest. He had 50 tackles and five sacks as a junior.
He was recruited by MU coach Zach Smith.
Before the weekend started, Marshall picked up another recruit according to Rivals.com.
Evan McKelvey, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound safety gave the Herd a commitment on Jan. 14.
McKelvey is from Monks Corner, S.C. and played at Berkeley. He is a two-star player.
He was recruited by MU coach Phil Ratliff.