HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - If the last rush in football recruiting is a large rush, chances are your program is not going to fare very well.That has to do with the winter "dead period," where prospects may not be contacted in person. It was extended from the week that midyear junior-college transfers could sign to the week of the American Football Coaches Association convention.For this winter, that period runs from Dec. 16 through Jan. 15 - in other words, Wednesday.As Marshall coach Doc Holliday pointed out, coaches have never dealt with a 30-day period, approved by the Football Bowl Subdivision schools but not by the Championship Subdivision schools. When recruiting goes live Thursday, teams will have 20 days until National Signing Day.Holliday said much of Marshall's recruiting work is done for the class of 2014, and with good reason."To be honest, with the way the recruiting rules are, with that dead period going from Dec. [16th] to Jan. 15th, you'd better be pretty much set to that point and have your hooks in the rest of them because there's not a lot of time left."We've got a big weekend this weekend and we've got a big weekend next weekend, as far as players coming, and that will just about finish us up."Marshall has 16 to 18 committed recruits, according to sites that track recruiting. Four enrolled early and began class on Monday: quarterback Cole Garvin of Tyrone, Ga.; defensive end Malik Thompson and lineman A.J. Addison, both from Fork Union Military Academy, Va.; and defensive tackle Jason Smith of East Coast Prep in Barrington, Mass.Holliday said his coaching staff will make special trips to all football-playing West Virginia high schools Thursday and Friday, with he and Bill Legg visiting some nearby schools in Ohio.The reason is simple: The coaches don't want to miss under-the-radar talent. The current examples are Clint Van Horn of Beckley, who finished the season as starting right tackle; Blake Brooks, the South Charleston grad who played important snaps in the Military Bowl; Derek Mitchell of Point Pleasant, who played a lot of special teams and some at linebacker; and Joe Woodrum of Bluefield, the tight end who also played on special teams.Holliday also thinks Cabell Midland's Cody Carter, listed as a wide receiver, will get on the field."I think a lot of players in the state of West Virginia got big ol' hearts, but they're underdeveloped," Holliday said. "If you look at every one of those kids I mentioned, they didn't really come in here as really good players; they came in here, guys that love football that have big ol' hearts who were willing to work extremely hard to get where they are, and they've turned out to be really good."
nnHolliday expects a full squad, or close to it, for spring drills. He sounded optimistic about the return linebacker Kent Turene, who had knee surgery before the bowl game, and big offensive lineman Sandley Jean-Felix, who injured himself during a game-week practice last fall.He gave much credit to his strength and conditioning coach, Scott Sinclair.
"I thought for the most part, knock on wood, we didn't have a lot of [lingering injuries]," Holliday said. "This time last year, it looked like a morgue down there [in the training room]. We had more shoulder surgeries, and half our team was in red [non-contact jerseys]."Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.