Herd raves on latest recruiting class

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) – Marshall’s 2013 recruiting class taps heavily into coach Doc Holliday’s ties to the state of Florida.

Marshall announced Wednesday the signing of 29 players, including a dozen players already enrolled in school.

Considered one of the top recruits is Miami, Fla., prep defensive back Michael Johnson. He’s among 13 Marshall recruits from the state of Florida.

Marshall landed three recruits from the Atlanta Sports Academy, including wide receiver Deontay McManus, who had signed a year ago at West Virginia. McManus attended the same high school as former Mountaineer star Tavon Austin.

Rivals.com ranks Marshall’s recruiting class as the top non-BCS class and first among members that will compete in Conference USA in 2013. ESPN.com rated five of the Herd’s recruits as four-star talent, which was also a league-high.

“This is the culmination of a team effort which included our coaches, administration, support staff and student-athletes,” Holliday said. “Marshall football is getting another outstanding recruiting class as we welcome these fine young men to our program.”

Some of the more widely sought-after individuals included linebacker Jeremiah Benjamin (Hollywood, Fla.); offensive lineman Chris Huhn (Pickerington, Ohio); running back Tony Pittman (Hampton, Va.); defensive back Shykeem Pitts (Davenport, Fla.); and defensive back De’Andre Wilson (Myrtle Beach, S.C.).

Benjamin, who had scholarship offers from an array of Division-I programs such as Ohio, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, was a three-sport athlete at McArthur High School. He averaged 15 points per game as a shooting guard last season as a junior and also competed in the sprint events during the track season.

Huhn had offers from Louisville, Akron and Ohio among others. His high school football team at Pickerington North finished 12-2 after losing to Cincinnati Moeller (and quarterback Spencer Iacovone, who is a Marshall baseball signee) in the Ohio Division I semifinals.

At 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, Pittman rushed for 1,761 yards and scored 22 touchdowns during his senior season at Phoebus High School.

Pitts chose Marshall over Tennessee and is one of the most versatile players in the 2013 Marshall class.

After turning down Missouri and North Carolina State, Wilson comes from the same Myrtle Beach High School that turned out Herd running back Butchie Wallace.