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Charles Huff

Charles Huff, reportedly one of the candidates for Marshall’s head coaching vacancy, has had coaching stops at Maryland, Hampton, Valderbilt, the Buffalo Bills, Western Michigan, Penn State and Mississippi State before landing his current job as Alabama’s associated head coach.

Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.

Here are the opinions du jour.

The process of hiring a replacement for departed Marshall University head football coach Doc Holliday is taking some curious turns.

Interviews are supposed to take place this week with six candidates on the list.

Ah yes, the list. That’s where this search takes a decided lean to the unusual.

Let’s start with the front-runner.

It appears to be University of Alabama associate head coach and running backs coach Charles Huff. The 37-year-old native of Denton, Maryland, has gained the reputation of being one of the top recruiters in college football.

He was rather busy Monday night, coaching against Ohio State in the national championship game, but Huff is expected to be interviewed at some point this week.

As a player, Huff walked on at Hampton University and ended up as the starting center as a junior and team captain his senior year.

Huff’s coaching journey has taken him to the University of Maryland, Hampton, Vanderbilt, the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, Western Michigan, Penn State, Mississippi State and to Alabama the past two years.

Huff’s coaching influences include Penn State coach head James Franklin, Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck and, of course, West Virginia native and Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

As a recruiter, Huff played a crucial role in the recruiting and development of New York Giants star running back Saquon Barkley at Penn State. In fact, he has coached seven 1,000-yard rushers in his career.

Marshall isn’t the only school interested in Huff, either. According to reports, South Alabama also has him on its short list of prospective head coaches.

It isn’t difficult to see why. Huff’s reputation as a recruiter has grown to the point 247Sports ranked him No. 1 nationally in the recruiting rankings for the 2021 class.

Next up?

Thundering Herd defensive coordinator Brad Lambert. MU Athletic Director Mike Hamrick, who is the head of the search committee, is believed to be a strong advocate of Lambert.

Another candidate expected to receive an interview is former Marshall standout tight end Mike Bartrum. The native of Pomeroy, Ohio, starred for MU in 1991 and ’92 before starting a 13-year career in the NFL, spent mostly with the Philadelphia Eagles as one of the best long-snappers of his era.

Bartrum currently is the assistant tight end coach for the Eagles.

There are three more candidates who are expected to get interviews.

One of them is Ricky Brumfield, who is the University of Virginia’s special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Brumfield also has coached at Conference USA schools UTSA and Western Kentucky.

This wouldn’t be his first foray into West Virginia, either. Brumfield was Fairmont State’s special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach from 2004 to 2010 and has family in the Mountain State.

Next there’s Dwayne Ledford, the offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Louisville. The East Carolina graduate spent seven years playing in the NFL, then coached at Appalachian State and North Carolina State before joining Louisville’s program.

Finally, there’s a name that should ring a familiar note with Marshall fans. The final prospective candidate is believed to be former MU coach Todd Hartley, who coached safeties at Marshall in 2011-12 and then served as recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach in 2013-14.

Hartley has been Georgia’s tight ends coach for 2019-20.

There are names fans expected to see, but didn’t. And there are names fans didn’t expect to see, but did.

Nobody can accuse this job search as being boring.