Marshall head coach Doc Holliday had several specific needs in this year's recruiting class and he said he feels like many of those needs were addressed. The biggest addition to this season's class was linebacker Jaquan Yulee, and Holliday said his impact has already been displayed in this group of recruits.
"The Yulee commit got their [recruits] attention," Holliday said of the group of recruits on campus last weekend. "One of the top players in the country had committed to us and a lot of those guys were in the same...they're one of the top players in the country at their position. They took notice and followed."
Based off the reports from 247sports.com, Marshall finished with the best recruiting class in Conference USA and the 60th best overall class in the nation. Holliday had two specific positions he wanted to address in this class and said he believes the Herd got the players it needed to make an impact.
"Our defense starts from the outside in," Holliday said. "It starts at the corner position which is the two outside guys and even the nickel in the spread formations we're getting. We had a big time emphasis on corners and fortunately for us we have a couple in here on campus already and got a couple more coming. The wide receiver position was something we had to get some depth there and I think for the most part we've done that. Both positions are ones that players can come in and play early and we've had that in the past and we are going to need it again."
Here's a complete look at the Herd's 2016 recruiting class with a break down of each player.
Jaquan Yulee-LB: Chesapeake, VA, 4-Star: In June it was Alabama, but now its Marshal,l and the 6-foot, 252-pound linebacker could provide an instant impact for the Herd. The massive linebacker pulled down his commitment to the Tide Jan. 7 stating, "I still love Bama just want to make sure I'm making the right choice."
Yulee is ranked as the No. 3 recruit in the state and selected Marshall over schools such as Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Michigan State and Florida State. Yulee committed to the Herd Jan. 22 after visiting the campus. Yulee's biggest issue is earning a qualifying SAT score, although his grade point average qualifies him for completion in the NCAA.
His top 40-yard dash time was 4.7 seconds, allowing him to close on his target with explosive speed. With the loss of Evan McKelvey and D.J. Hunter at linebacker for the Herd, Yulee fits the bill for the void at the position.
Pro Wells-TE: Kenneth City, FL, 3-Star: Standing 6-foot-5, 210 pounds, Wells possesses a knack that makes him a matchup nightmare. The dual-sport athlete (basketball) uses his height advantage to stretch the field, providing a primary target for a jump ball situation in the end zone. Wells fell just shy of 1,000 yards receiving during his senior season and can work underneath and downfield with great skill at both.
Jaqua Daniels-RB: Atlanta, GA: 3-Star: At 6-foot-2, 212 pounds, Daniels imposes his will on smaller members of the secondary when he breaks free into the open field. He can shift into second gear once in the open and offers surprising speed for his frame. Reports on the big-bodied back have him decent hands with good field vision. He tallied 720 yards on 140 carries and scored 12 touchdowns his senior season. Daniels chose Marshall over offers from 14 different schools including Georgia, Wisconsin, UCF, South Carolina, Louisville and Ole Miss.
CJ Reavis-DB: Scooba, MS: 3-Star: As an early enrollee, Reavis comes to the Herd via the way of Blacksburg and the Hokies. Reavis saw action in all 12 games in his freshman season, recording eight tackles, one for loss, forcing a fumble and blocking a kick.
Reavis left Virginia Tech in July after the completion of a student-conduct hearing on an unspecified issue was denied. He was expected to compete for the starting safety job for the Hokies as a sophomore.
Tarik Adams-OL: Valdosta, GA: 2-Star: Alex Mirabel will welcome the 6-foot-3, 300-pound guard to the line with open arms. His prior experience in high school looks to land him anywhere on the line as he possess great speed off the ball. Committed prior to his senior season and had 10 offers from schools including Cincinnati, Southern Miss, Army and Appy State.
Sean Behrens-OL: Lithia, FL: 2-Star: Behrens may have owned a nickname of "decleater" in high school based solely off the way he exploded off the line. At 6-foot-3, 290 pounds, he is a great run blocker and pulls well. Behrens has all the lineman accolades and Mirabel should be able to refine his game.
Omari Cobb-LB: Port St. Lucie, FL: 2-Star: Cobb wasted little time committing to the Herd. After a visit last Sept., the 6-foot-5, 205-pound linebacker needed only two days to make his decision. Seeing Cobb on film reminds me much of a young D.J. Hunter. He typically lines up outside the tackle box and explodes to the ball in the running game. He also can drop into coverage making him a dual-threat player on defense.
Rodney Croom-DE: Cincinnati, OH: 2-Star: Strong side defensive end with good power. Croom can create a push off the edge as well as up the gut. His downside, he's severely underweight, coming in at 6-foot-3, 228 pounds.
Christopher Jackson- S: Tallahassee, FL: 2-Star: Jackson enrolled for the spring semester and will be available to work with the team in spring camp. Jackson worked as a wide receiver in high school, but comes to the Herd as a safety. Jackson brings a significant contribution to the field, speed, winning the state title in track in the 110-meter hurdles. He runs the 40 in 4.47 seconds and served as the team's kick returner. He sees the field well, reads his blocks and makes precision cuts to spring him free. His speed will certainly provide an opportunity to contribute early for the Herd.
Tyler King-RB: Fort Meade, FL: 2-Star: King chose Marshall over offers from Cincinnati, WKU and Indiana. He flipped from WKU to Marshall in October. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound running back tallied over 2,500 yards on the ground in his high school career, including 27 rushing touchdowns, scoring 20 during his senior year.
Jeremiah Maddox-DB: Hilton Head Island, SC: 2-Star: Possesses good speed and can play man coverage on the line or drop deep in coverage. Coming in at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Maddox has good strength to get into the backfield to distrupt the running game while closing out on a route while in zone. With Marshall opening 2016 with a serious question mark at safety, Maddox could be one player that could provide some answers.
Cody Mitchell-TE: Point Pleasant, WV: 2-Star: The West Virginia Gatorade State Football Player of the Year in 2015 took his team to the Class AAA State Semifinals only to come up short in a title bid. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound multipurpose player offers Marshall with several options which include tight end and full back. Cody will follow in his older brother Derek's footsteps who played at Marshall and father Darrell who played at WVU. Mitchell had offers from Louisville, Wake Forest and WVU.
Alex Mollette-OL: Suwanee, GA: 2-Star: The 6-foot-3, 285-pound offensive lineman had a list of offers that could fill an entire page. Nearly every major conference made an offer with Duke, Indiana, Louisville, N.C. State, Purdue and Vandy rounding out the list. Mollette is a versatile lineman that can play any position including center.
Garet Morrell-QB: Leesburg, GA: 2-Star: Morrell is a pro-style quarterback that can run and throw with precision. His speed allows him to work as a dual-threat quarterback if needed. Expected to redshirt.
Jestin Morrow-DB: Hilton Head Island, SC: 2-Star: Picked Marshall over offers from Purdue, Toledo and Charlotte. Has decent speed but comes in at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds.
Alex Salguero-OL: Bradenton, FL: 2-Star: At 6-foot-3, 310 pounds, Salguero takes the cake for the biggest of the five new linemen for Coach Mirabal. Worked as a guard and likes to get into the second level while being extremely physical.
Jaylon Sapp-DB: Jacksonville, FL: 2-Star: Committed in May of last year, choosing Marshall over Wake Forest, Rutgers, UTSA and South Alabama. Can play bump coverage at the line and will typically line up over the best receiver on the field. He should fit right in Marshall's "No Fly Zone" this season.
Will Ulmer-OL: Richmond, KY: 2-Star: Comes out of Kentucky with his only offer being Marshall. This shouldn't downplay his possibilities, as Mirabal has transformed no star athletes into great linemen. If he can add 10-15 pounds to his 285-pound frame, it certainly won't hurt.
Brandon Rodgers-WR: Mobile, AL: 2-Star: Rodgers is a slightly taller Tommy Shuler, standing 5-foot-9 and possesses blazing speed. His fastest time in the 100-meter dash was 10.75 seconds. That's fast at any level.
Larry Aaron-DT: Columbia, MD: 2-Star: Multisport athlete with a bull rush to the ball. Blows offensive linemen backward with his initial move.
Xavier Gaines-ATH: Frostproof, FL: 3-Star: One of the few surprises by the Herd's class. Can run and throw with the best in the nation. Threw for over 1,200 yards as a junior and ran for over 600 while scoring 19 total touchdowns. Runs the 40 in 4.53 seconds. His athletic ability makes him an asset, however Holliday choices to use him. Had offers from schools such as Alabama, Baylor, Clemson and Florida State just to name a few.
Willie Johnson-WR: Fort Myers, FL: 4-Star: Another surprise in the 2016 class brings amazing speed to the field. Clocked at 4.31 in the 40 last summer, Johnson gives Marshall a possible outside threat. Tallied 95 catches for 1,560 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career.
Raymond Flanders-WR: Miami, FL: 2-Stars: Helped lead his high school to four consecutive state championships. Totalled 1,016 yards on 64 receptions and 12 touchdowns in his career at Booker T. Washington. Had one other offer, coming from Cincinnati.
Of the recruits on the Herd's board, only Peyton Scott, Jacob Mccrory, Keon Singleton and Antwan Wright went unsigned today.