Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
Here are the opinions du jour.
- Marshall University defensive line coach Ralph Street made no secret of it during spring football.
Street wasn’t happy about the size — as in, lack thereof — of the Thundering Herd’s defensive end positions. It’s easy to understand.
The previous defensive philosophy was to feature smaller, quicker defensive ends who were more the size of linebackers to supply a pass rush vs. much bigger — but also much slower — offensive linemen.
And it was successful.
Defensive ends such as Darius Hodge, 6-foot-2, 245 pounds; Sam Burton, 6-1, 226; Koby Cumberlander, 6-2, 236; and Owen Porter, 6-3, 235, were productive.
But that was then and this is now.
Now, Marshall’s coaching staff wants defensive ends who possess prototypical size. That’s why freshman Emmanuel Balogun — all 6-7, 254 pounds of him — caught a lot of observers’ attention during spring ball. The freshman from Fork Union Military Academy possesses that sort of size.
The Herd got another big boost at the defensive end position recently when former consensus four-star prospect Shane Simmons announced he was going to transfer from Penn State and finish his college career at Marshall.
The 6-3, 247-pound Simmons will be a sixth-year senior.
The Laurel, Maryland native’s decision to join the Herd is all about previous connections. New Marshall head coach Charles Huff actually was coaching at Penn State during two of Simmons’ seasons with the Nittany Lions.
So it comes as no surprise that Simmons would choose to join the Herd.
Although Simmons was rather injury-plagued early in his career, he still managed to finish with 44 appearances (two starts), 59 overall tackles (24 solo), 10.5 tackles for loss, including four sacks, and one pass breakup.
Simmons is a quality addition to Marshall’s football program.
- Remember Tavian Dunn-Martin?
Well, the former Huntington High School basketball star is on the move again.
After starting his college career at Akron, the 5-8 guard followed Zips’ head coach Keith Dambrot to Duquesne when he was named as the Dukes’ new coach. Dunn-Martin played three seasons at Duquesne, participating in 80 games, scoring 738 points with 219 assists and shooting 35% from the floor and 34% from the 3-point line.
During the 2020-21 season, Dunn-Martin averaged 10.2 points and 3.6 assists for Duquesne.
Dunn-Martin is heading for Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers to finish his college career.
Good luck, Tavian.
- Speaking of blasts from the past, Aaron Blair is back.
Remember the former Marshall University star pitcher? Everybody does. After all, the big right-hander was a first-round selection in the 2013 Major League Baseball draft.
Now he is a member of the new-look West Virginia Power.
“This is very exciting on and off the field having Aaron join the Power,” said Andy Shea, Power owner. “Aaron has had Major League talent since being drafted in the first round out of Marshall. It’s great to have him back in West Virginia.”
Blair was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks and pitched in parts of two seasons (2016-17) with the Atlanta Braves.
Besides being back in the Mountain State, Blair also will be returning to the site of one of his finest performances. In 2013, Blair pitched six hitless innings against in-state rival West Virginia University, striking out 11 while hurling Marshall to an 8-0 victory.
Blair is a very welcome addition to the Power.