Rasheen Ali – Cleveland, Ohio, 6-0 201lbs, Redshirt Sophomore Running Back
Rasheen Ali blossomed as one of the best running backs in the entire country last season. He was selected as an all-purpose selection for the 2021 Football Writers Association of America All-America team. While the list only includes freshman players, Ali showcased the ability to potentially become a household name in college football. Averaging 140.9 all-purpose yards per game, Ali finished 2021 with six 100+ yard games. He was an easy selection for the C-USA first team. In the matchup with Appalachian State, a team that will be a consistent face in the Sun Belt, Ali had 83 yards on 17 attempts, bringing in a touchdown. Ali finished last season incredibly strong with six rushing touchdowns in three games and a 200-yard outing against Charlotte. Ali also operates well in the passing attack, totaling 45 receptions and a 50-yard bomb against North Texas, his longest catch of the season. He will be the spearhead of Marshall’s offense in its first year of Sun Belt play, with his eyes set on another first-team selection and another potential All-American nod.
Eli Neal – Memphis, Tennessee, 6-2 223lbs, Junior Linebacker
Alongside Abraham Beauplan, Eli Neal was a star linebacker for the Herd in 2021. Recording 97 tackles for the season and 39 solo tackles, Neal was a player that was seemingly involved in every tackle that the Herd made. With seven tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks on the season, Eli Neal is a stud in the backfield against run-heavy teams. Against Navy, a team that only attempted 16 passes, Eli Neal had 3 sacks, good for a sack rate of nearly 20 percent of passes. When considering that Navy runs the triple option, an offense based almost entirely around split decisions and holes in the defense, Neal’s 11 total tackles and three sacks should stick out. Neal also had multiple double digit tackle games, giving him a defensive player of the week nod in 2021. He is a player that can make split-second decisions while finding big plays. Neal’s best game came against conference rival App State, a game in which Neal had 12 tackles. He should be watched as a potential all-conference level linebacker in 2022.
Corey Gammage – Delray Beach, Florida, 6-4 220lbs, Redshirt Junior Wide Receiver
Corey Gammage spent last season leading Marshall receivers in yards, receptions and average yards per game. Gammage was one of 11 C-USA honorable mentions for Marshall when regular season awards were announced in 2021. While Gammage did not lead the team in touchdowns, he was able to rattle off at least one catch of 15 or more yards in 10 of 13 games in 2021. Gammage’s best game came against East Carolina. He totaled 180 yards in eight catches. Averaging 67.5 yards per game, Corey Gammage was a go-to option for former Herd QB Grant Wells, who tossed to Gammage six times per contest. With a more talented arm, Henry Colombi, presumably taking lead for Marshall in 2022, Gammage could blossom into a concrete WR1, leading in every category. Willie Johnson was picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs in the seventh round of this years draft, giving players like Gammage more big play opportunities. Marshall has produced many recent NFL receivers, and Gammage could be the next one.