By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Over the last decade or so, Woodrow Wilson High has had an impact on Marshall football, particularly in the trenches.
There was Doug Legursky, a starting center and guard since his freshman year in 2004. He now has a Super Bowl ring and is the starting right guard for the Buffalo Bills.
Don’t forget about Shavar Greer, a walk-on who worked his way up to scholarship status as a defensive end.
Today, right tackle Clint Van Horn has re-opened the Beckley pipeline that had dried up for a few years. The redshirt sophomore and former prep all-stater has started the Thundering Herd’s last two games, and will do so again Saturday when Marshall (5-3, 3-1 Conference USA) hosts UAB at noon.
One other thing Van Horn has in common with Legursky and Greer is the label of captain.
Head coach Doc Holliday has named weekly captains this season, and on Tuesday announced Van Horn will serve in that capacity on the offensive side of the ball — along with quarterback Rakeem Cato — against the Blazers.
The defensive captains will be defensive end Brandon Sparrow and linebacker Jermaine Holmes.
Of the four, only Cato has been a captain before.
“When a new name pops up, that means the leadership on your football team is continuing to grow,” Holliday said.
n n n
UAB (2-6, 1-3) will definitely look to run the ball against Marshall on Saturday, but receiver Jamarcus Nelson will command respect.
Nelson, a junior, had a 41-yard touchdown catch in the Blazers’ 56-17 loss at LSU earlier this season that stands out to Holliday. He also had a 21-yard TD reception in last Saturday’s 24-21 loss to Middle Tennessee, a game in which the Blazers ran 56 times.
As much as UAB relies on its ground attack, Nelson forces defenses to be honest.
“If Nelson is on the field then you better know where because he ran right by LSU, and they have some pretty good corners,” Holliday said. “He has great speed and if you don’t know where he is then he will beat you or find some way to beat you during that game.”
Nelson is second in C-USA with 82 yards per game and is tied for second with six touchdowns.
n n n
The Marshall Athletics Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) is holding its annual canned food drive Nov. 8-15 to assist the Marshall University Food Pantry.
This year, fans may donate online in addition to the in-person giving that has been the norm for the drive. To make your donation, please visit http://www.yougivegoods.com/products.
The Marshall SAAC will collect canned goods at the Nov. 8 women’s basketball game against Bluefield (11:30 a.m.), the South Carolina State men’s basketball and UAB men’s soccer games later that day (7 p.m.), the UAB football game on Nov. 9 (Gate A, noon), the men’s basketball game versus Rio Grande on Tuesday, Nov. 12, (7 p.m.) and the volleyball match against Middle Tennessee on Saturday, Nov. 15 (7 p.m.).
The drive is part of Conference USA’s “Let’s SAAC Hunger Program.” Each school in the conference works with the local community to conduct a campus-wide food drive for one week during the fall semester.
Marshall student-athletes will be on hand to assist with the donation process.
— E-mail: gfauber
@register-herald.com and follow on Twitter