When Doc Holliday took over at Marshall in mid-December, he started his recruiting from scratch.
The Thundering Herd had midterm enrollees linebacker Trevor Black and long-snapper/tight end James Power, but other than that, Holliday and his staff had to put together a competitive class in less than two months.
Holliday, who was lauded at the time of his hiring for being a recruiting genius, went into this class thinking he’d sign 14 players and came away with a class of 23.
“I hired great coaches with great contacts in areas, and the thing we did was we got those coaches out in the areas that they’re familiar with and familiar with the players,” Holliday said. “We’re extremely excited about the players we were able to locate, find and recruit.”
Holliday went to Florida, where he did most of his recruiting at West Virginia, and came out with 13 signees. Of those, five are three-star recruits, according to ESPN’s Scouts Inc. Holliday also flipped the commitments of four players who were all committed to schools from automatic qualifying conferences.
One of those switches came from receiver Fred Pickett from Pahokee High in Florida. Pickett is the type of athlete Marshall has been missing in past years. He’s versatile enough to play receiver or running back and should be an immediate contributor.
Another steal was running back Antwon Chisholm, who dropped Mississippi State for the Herd. Chisholm’s recruitment was crucial considering Marshall star running back Darius Marshall opted to leave school early for the NFL draft.
But of all the recruits Marshall signed, Holliday said the most important might be from kicker Justin Haig from American Heritage-Boca-Delray High in Florida. Holliday said securing a kicker was the Herd’s top priority since they were looking at going into the 2010 season without one.
Overall, Holliday said he was pleased with the way his first class turned out despite the rushed turnaround.
“You know, with this being the first year and the amount of time we had, I felt like we made up some ground and signed a good class,” Holliday said.