The number 13 symbolizes bad luck to so many people. Typically there is not a 13th floor in a high rise building, or a 13th row on an airplane. Thirteen is not always a bad number. Sometimes the number is worn by superstars, most notably Wilt Chamberlain, Dan Marino and Alex Rodriguez.
Marshall’s football team really hopes that this season, the player wearing number 13 will come through with a big season. However, before we take a look at the young player who will be dawning that number this season, let’s take a scroll back through time and look at that number a little closer in Herd history.
The easy route would be to simply talk about the excellent career of wide receiver Denerio Marriott who teamed with Josh Davis and Darius Watts as one of the best three headed receiving monsters in the history of college football in 2001, but I will let him be and go with one number 13 that is a little more obscure but oh so important.
Prior to the 1998 football season, the Herd was a little thin at the tight end position. The coaching staff set out to find someone who could come in and play right away. They ended up signing a young man from Wyoming. The took him right off of a rodeo circuit and brought him to Huntington, WV to play major college football.
The number assigned to this young man was number 13. He would only have one catch in his playing career for Marshall.
It was the third game of the season, Marshall, in only its second year at playing on the 1-A (now FBS) level, entered the game with 2 wins against zero losses. They had early season wins over Akron and Troy. The third game of the season had the Herd venturing into SEC country. Marshall was set to play South Carolina, and did so in front of nearly 80,000 fans.
Marshall went up early, then saw its lead gone by halftime. Marshall began a drive in the third quarter trailing the Gamecocks 10 to 7. The Herd drove down to the 15 yard line. Quarterback Chad Pennington, not wearing number 13, dropped back to pass. He spotted the aforementioned tight end and hit him on the numbers. The tight end, wearing number 13, strolled into the endzone for his one and only catch, and one and only touchdown.
The PA announcer said, “touchdown Marshall, 15 yard pass from Chad Pennington to Brad Hammon.”
Hammon caught one of the biggest catches in school history, yet, very few people remember it. The memories from that game usually come down to Daninelle Derricott’s interception of Anthony Wright, and ensuing return deep into Gamecock territory which set up the game winning field goal by Hurricane, WV native Billy Malashevich.
I will always remember the Cowboy though, coming through to help the Herd win one of its biggest games in school history, at that time.
Flashing forward to 2012, Marshall will be replacing three linebackers and an NFL defensive end. Linebackers Kellen Harris, George Carpenter, and Tyson Gale all started last season and have exhausted their eligibility. Likewise, current Philadelphia Eagle Vinny Curry, has moved on after starring at defensive end last season.
Those are very difficult positions to fill, however, the Herd will have one player that could be capable of filling either roll. Armonze Daniel, who will be wearing number 13 this season, is listed as linebacker, and completed spring drills at that position, however, he could also put a hand on the ground and line up at defensive end.
Daniel was one of the higher touted recruits from last years recruiting class. Daniel ended up redshirting, while his fellow freshman linebackers, Jermaine Holmes and Deon Meadows saw playing time. Daniel was part of an excellent linebacker group that the staff put together, which also included Cortez Carter. Daniel is 6’4”, 232 pounds and has the body and the ability to switch positions if needed.
During the spring, all four linebackers from that class played very well and at times earned first team reps.
Look for Armonze Daniel to make a big impact this fall on the Marshall defense. Daniel’s younger brother Elijah, both from Avon, Indiana, is one of the highest rated defensive ends in the country. He is high on Marshall’s board, and recently listed Marshall as one of his final 15.
One final flashback on the number 13 takes us back to the year 1913. Marshall was coached by Boyd Chambers, who was entering his 5th season at the helm of the Herd. Marshall began the season with a scrimmage game against Huntington High School. The Herd kicked off their season at home against Transylvania on October 8th. Imagine how long the offseason seemed back then. Marshall won their first three games, adding victories against Georgetown College and Marietta. However, captain Jesse Callahan was unable to lead the Herd to a winning record as they lost their final four to Wheeling Staats, Virginia Tech, Morris Harvey and WV Wesleyan.
Stay tuned to herdhaven.com as we continue to introduce you to the 2012 version of the Thundering Herd as well as taking a trip down memory lane.