Teams & Conferences

2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 97 Marshall Thundering Herd

2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 97 Marshall Thundering Herd


The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Marshall Thundering Herd


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No. 97: Marshall Thundering Herd

Marshall Thundering Herd Prespring Status

Let’s just call 2017 a do-over after a shockingly disastrous 2016. This was supposed to be a team deep in the mix for the for the Conference USA title, but instead the defense went bye-bye, the offense never showed up, and the ten-win team of two years ago struggled to get to 3-9. The program is much better than that, the coaching staff is far better, and this year’s team should be much, much better if the glitches are fixed.

The ground game that averaged a pathetic 108 yards per game has to start doing something right, and the secondary that was so dominant two years ago can’t get torched on a regular basis again. After finishing up last season with a 60-6 loss to Western Kentucky – and with the last four losses all blowouts – this becomes a huge offseason to prove it was all a bad, bad dream.

Marshall Thundering Herd Biggest Issue

Can the receiving corps start to rock again without most of its top weapons? Michael Clark is gone after leading the team with 632 yards, meaning the top five targets are done. Josh Knight led the way with 62 catches, Justin Hunt was okay, Emmanuel Byrd was a solid short-range tight end, and losing Deon-Tay McManus early to the NFL – puzzling as it was – still isn’t a plus. Chase Litton is a promising passer, but he needs guys to throw to.

Marshall Thundering Herd Biggest Positive

There’s experience for the ground game, but now it all has to work. The line might have had its problems, but Clint Van Horn was a good one at right tackle. He’s done, but the other four starters are back up front to crank it up for a running attack that gets back everyone who came up with a positive rushing yard. There was little to no explosion, and leading rusher Keion Davis only came up with 469 yards, but again, the veterans are in place.

Really, Why Are The Marshall Thundering Herd Ranked Here?

They were really, really awful last season, and they just didn’t get any better. There’s too much talent and too many positives to think it’ll be another 3-9 season, but there’s still too much to do to hope to bounce back to ten wins. This will be one of the Conference USA teams to watch this spring – the position battles should be terrific.