Marshall recently landed a talented quarterback from the state of Florida so lets take a closer look…
Gunnar Set to Arrive
Over the past three decades, Marshall University typically had very few issues with the player who lined up behind the center and called out the snap counts each weekend. Starting in the early 80's the Herd had a string of excellent all conference quarterbacks who led the teams both on and off the field. The play slacked off a bit near the turn of the century, but has picked up recently with the play of true sophomore to be quarterback, Rakeem Cato.
Cato returns for his sophomore season this year, he should be pushed by redshirt freshman Blake Frohnapfel. History shows however, that two quarterbacks are never enough. In fact, Marshall history shows that the third string quarterback could be the one that leads the team on a Championship run. In 1995, after starting quarterback Larry Harris went down with an injury, and back up quarterback Mark Zban went down with an injury, gangly freshman Chad Pennington stepped in, and the rest is history.
Just last season the expected quarterback depth chart appeared to be a battle for the top spot between A.J. Graham and Eddie Sullivan, with Cato manning the third spot. That changed early, as Cato won the job in camp, Sullivan transferred, and Graham was dismissed for a violation of team rules after suffering a mid season injury.
The expected third string quarterback this season would tend to be incoming freshman Gunnar Holcombe. Holcombe is a 6'3", 190 pound quarterback from the University School of Nova Sout in Southern Florida. He committed to the Herd in early December and stuck with the commitment through signing day. He has made multiple visits to Huntington to watch his future team practice. His most recent visit was for the spring game in late April I caught up with Holcombe shortly after his return to see how things went.
Holcombe is fully aware of the challenges which lie ahead of him in regards to where he currently sets on the depth chart. He understands there are still two quarterbacks ahead of him, and, "I am very excited to get up there and get to work, I have to start at the bottom and work my way up."
Prior to talking about his visit I asked him what he enjoyed most about the entire recruiting experience. He simply stated that, "my favorite thing really, was just that fact that I am going to be getting a chance to move on to the next level, so I just embraced the whole process." When asked what led him to choose Marshall as the school in which he wanted to continue his playing career, Holcombe said, "the biggest factor in me choosing Marshall was the coaching staff. I like Coach Holliday's philosophy and the way the coaches present themselves and seem to have a great bond with the players."
After he committed to Marshall, most fans could sense that Gunnar was doing all he could to try to recruit some of his fellow prospects to follow him to Huntington. Gunnar said, "I just tried my best to get the players that could help us build the the program back up." He did go on to add that, "but at the end of the day its really the coaches that get the players to buy into what their preaching more so than myself."
He really enjoyed his visit during the Green and White game. He got to meet Chad Pennington, and even said that he thought he would get to possibly work out with him in the coming weeks. He also said he would be working out with Cato, A.J. Leggett, Keith Baxter and Tommy Shuler.
Holcombe is looking forward to his arrival in Huntington. He should be arriving at Marshall within the next week in fact to begin his career. He is looking forward to both the football and the educational aspect of college. I asked him what he planned on majoring in, other than winning football games, and he said, "I am not quite sure yet, but I am thinking sports management because I want to be a coach when my playing time is up, and yeah, we are going to win a lot of football games in the near future."
Judging by some of his comments, and the way he carries himself, it is going to be difficult for Gunnar to not become a fan favorite.
Stay tuned to Herdhaven.com for more updates.
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