2015 signing day welcomes new recruiting class


Shannon Stowers

Doc Holliday speaks to the press during signing day Wednesday in the Memorial Student Center.

Marshall University’s football team announced its 25 recruits Wednesday, which includes 11 players from Florida.

Head coach Doc Holliday said his coaching staff has always recruited heavily in the Florida area and the team’s recent national exposure has helped in the recruiting process.

“We went down there and won twice in Florida this year, so those guys got to see us play,” Holliday said during his press conference. “Of course, we got to play in a bowl game down there, and that didn’t hurt us as far as exposure is concerned. So, I think now we have 33 kids from down there including this class.”

Jacob Messer, publisher for Herdnation.com, said high school players in Florida, particularly the South Florida area, are taking notice of their former classmates’ decision to come to Marshall.

“It’s a snowball effect,” Messer said. “People who think these kids don’t realize that, are crazy. For a lot of these kids, Huntington is starting to feel like home. You see the guys you grew up with, that you played ball with, not only getting an opportunity to play football at a thriving program, but also graduate from college and lead productive lives.” 

Holliday said the relationships he has made with high school coaches in the Florida area has been beneficial as well. 

“Those coaches know us,” Holliday said. “They know we’re going to take care of the kids, just like we did with Cato, Shuler and the rest of them. What’s great about recruiting in that area is that we have a track record of kids that come here and are successful. They do a great job academically, and they perform at the highest level.”

Holliday also credits the new indoor facility, Chris Cline Athletic Complex, as an attraction during the players’ recruiting visit.

“When the kids come on campus, they can see one of the nicest indoor facilities in the country,” Holliday said. “We can actually take them to the hall of fame and show them all of the great players that have come through here.”

Doc not only gets great players, he gets great students and great human beings.

— Jacob Messer

Messer said this year’s recruiting class is one of the better classes Holliday has put together since arriving at Marshall.

 It’s impressive,” Messer said. “Doc not only gets great players, he gets great students and great human beings.”

Messer was not hesitant to say the Herd easily has the best recruiting class in C-USA this year, with Florida International University coming in at a distant second.

“It’s not even close,” Messer said. “I will say that FIU is starting to step it up a notch, and that’s great for Marshall. Marshall needs its conference opponents to step it up.”

While Holliday said he is excited about the recruiting class, he mentioned the challenge that Marshall faces when recruiting players that are also being scouted by schools in the Power 5 conferences—which consists of the ACC, the Big Ten, the Big 12, the Pac-12 and the SEC.

“These P5 schools go in there and tell these kids how much different they are from Marshall,” Holliday said. “As far as ‘You can get so much more from a P5 school,’ no you can’t. You can come to Marshall and have better facilities, you can play for championships, and you can get all of the same things that you can get at their places.”

Malcolm Walton can be contacted at [email protected].