HUNTINGTON — Kent Turene, the well-touted linebacker with an injury-riddled career, was seen moving around pretty well as Marshall practice opened Monday — even with a cumbersome-looking brace on his knee.
How long will he be wearing that hardware?
“For the rest of my career right now,” he said with upbeat acceptance.
There’s no telling where the sophomore from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., would be in the Herd depth chart now. After he became eligible for the spring of 2013, he looked as much of a beast as advertised, but he slipped while running to the sideline and injured his ankle.
He recovered for the August camp, but went up to break up a pass and came down very wrong on his knee. With an anterior cruciate ligament torn, he lost the season and the next spring.
Twelve months later, he remains on the comeback trail, and MU's revival at linebacker might not help him. Last fall, Evan McKelvey came off his ACL injury, Neville Hewitt emerged out of junior college and Jermaine Holmes came into his own. Stefan Houston, Raheem Waiters and Derek Mitchell were capable reserves.
But that’s fine with Turene: “I’m happy for it. The more players we have, the more we can learn from on each other, get better as a unit.”
While Turene is practicing, he watched seven-on-seven and full-team drills (contact isn’t an issue yet, with players not in pads). Getting into those segments will be another milestone on the comeback trail.
“Right now, it’s a work in progress. My doctor, he’ll determine that in the near future,” he said.
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Recruitniks probably don’t want to see this, but that National Signing Day thing tends to lose its luster about this time of the year.
Marshall’s announced February recruiting class has dropped by nearly a dozen, at least for this season. Several comprise the usual crop of nonqualifiers, while others are just plain not coming to town for a variety of reasons.
Then again, the Herd landed a potentially big catch late in 6-foot-4, 198-pound Jerome Dews. Coach Doc Holliday said the former Tennessee commitment is fully eligible.
“He’s long, he can run,” Holliday said. “We had him out there at safety today. He was really impressive on film coming off the edge as a defensive end, ‘Sam’ ’backer, I don’t know where he’s going to play.
“You get somebody 6-foot-3 who can run, who’s athletic, he’s going to help us somewhere.”
Just before signing day, Dews told Knoxblogs.com he was heading to prep school. On the MU roster, he was listed as having attended Atlanta Sports Academy.
Conversely, the following players are “props,” expected to come to MU to earn eligibility for 2015: running back Keion Davis, linebacker Maurice Hall, defensive lineman Nyquan Harris, defensive lineman Jason Smith and defensive lineman Malik Thompson.
Those not coming at all: wide receiver Alex Cason, safety Demetrius Johnson, defensive back Quintavious Knight, offensive lineman Brandon Mitchell and wide receiver Reese Wooten.
Another freshman, linebacker Frankie Hernandez, is trying to qualify and may make it. The Herd had 104 players on its camp roster Monday, so coaches may be keeping a spot open for Hernandez.
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Hewitt had the most noticeable number change, swapping his 43 for No. 6.
In other moves, defensive back Michael Johnson is back at 24 after a season at 32. He had to trade in his 24 for another number last year when he joined the same special-teams unit with former receiver Jazz King.
Cornerback Donaldven Manning switched from 30 to 29, wide receiver Josh Knight from 86 to 84 and defensive tackle Ricardo Williams from 97 to 92.
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Walk-ons with West Virginia ties included running back David Gaydosz, the Cabell Midland grad who spent last year at Coastal Carolina, safety Jacob Parker from Meadow Bridge, safety Chase Hancock from Woodrow Wilson, linebacker Josh Cox from Cabell Midland, linebacker Eli Gates from Hedgesville, offensive lineman Austin Whipkey from Wheeling (attended Linsly) and defensive linemen Matt Harless of Westside, Austin Hill of Nicholas County and Nigale Cabell of Huntington.
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In general, rookies practiced in the morning and veterans in the afternoon, but there were exceptions. As summer school continues at MU, class schedules dictated a few changes.
Most notable was that of Eric Frohnapfel, the tight end who enters the fall a first-stringer. He is listed as a fourth-year senior, but he’s a bit beyond that academically.
Yes, he’s one of those student-athlete types. Got his finance degree in three years, and he’s taking a master’s-level class in the afternoon. Those aren’t flexible, schedule-wise.
“Management one thousand,” he joked. Becoming half-serious, he then said, “Management 6-something; it’s my second graduate school class.”
Which also begs the question: Has Frohnapfel become the team’s resident brain?
“I think sometimes,” he said, with a grin. “I can settle arguments, but sometimes guys give me a little too much credit.”
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Just a few injury casualties: Linebacker Stefan Houston and safety Tiquan Lang. Both were undergoing exercises on the sidelines.
Offensive lineman Tyler Combs is the more long-term situation, as he may take a medical redshirt.
“He’s here but he’s rehabbing that ankle still,” Holliday said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”
Reach Doug Smock at email@example.com, 304-348-5130 or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.