Marshall is my next profile for the strongest and weakest positions heading into this spring. The Thundering Herd have a new coaching staff this year, but return 16 starters from last year’s Little Caesar’s Bowl championship team.
Strongest position: Wide receiver
Key returners: Sophomore Antavious Wilson (60 catches for 724 yards and three touchdowns), senior Chuck Walker (33 catches, 350 yards and three touchdowns), sophomore Aaron Dobson (15 catches, 362 yards, four touchdowns), senior Lee Smith (23 catches, 335 yards), sophomore Jamal Wilson (17 catches, 128 yards)
Key departures: Cody Slate (50 catches, 607 yards, four touchdowns)
The skinny: Slate was a big part of the Marshall offense, but when he suffered a season-ending injury, the Thundering Herd discovered a lot of new weapons. Antavious Wilson has established himself as the top receiver and Walker and Dobson complete what could be a really nice starting receiving corps. There is a lot of young talent on this team and that could make the coaching transition a little easier.
Weakest position: Kicker
Key returners: Junior Tyler Warner (hit 3 of 5 field goal attempts in 2008 and was selected to the 2008 Conference USA All-Freshman team)
Key departures: Craig Ratanamorn (made 22 of 28 field goal attempts during his career)
The skinny: When Doc Holliday took over at Marshall in December, he said his immediate recruiting concern was securing a kicker. Warner didn’t see the field last year because he was inconsistent when battling Ratanamorn for the starting role. Warner will have a chance to secure the starting role this spring, but he’ll have to fend off true freshman Justin Haig in the fall.