Ripping a page from Kyle Allen’s playbook, apparently, there’s another surprise quarterback addition to the draft pool.
With the deadline for declaring Monday, Chase Litton did just that as the Marshall quarterback announced Sunday afternoon that he is leaving collegiate eligibility on the table and heading to the NFL. Litton, who described it as “an extremely tough decision,” made the unexpected revelation on his personal Twitter account, with the football program confirming the decision a short time later in a press release.
“First and foremost, I want to thank my teammates – my brothers,” Litton said in the school-issued statement. “I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish anything like this without you. I want to thank Coach Doc Holliday and Marshall University for allowing me to be their quarterback for the past three seasons. My time in this prestigious program has readied me for this challenge and I will carry the ‘M’ around with me forever.
“I am because We Are.”
Litton joined Byron Leftwich, the seventh-overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft, as the only Thundering Herd quarterbacks to complete at least 60 percent of his passes in three straight seasons. A three-year starter, the 6-6, 232-pound Litton set career-highs in 2017 with 3,115 yards passing and 25 passing touchdowns.
“We thank Chase for his contribution to Marshall Football and wish him the best of luck moving forward,” said Thundering Herd head coach Doc Holliday.
The New Year has brought some heartbreaking news to the Marshall football program.
The mother of Marshall defensive tackle Larry Aaron confirmed to the Huntington Herald-Dispatch that her son is paralyzed from the waist down after being struck by a stray bullet during a New Year’s Eve party Monday morning in Maryland. A verbal altercation near where Aaron was standing turned violent as shots were fired, with one bullet striking the lineman and lodging in his spine.
Because of the bullet’s location, Melissa Aaron said, doctors “can’t remove it because they are afraid it could be dangerous and hinder him even more to do so.” Aaron’s mom said that while the injuries her son sustained are not life-threatening, he currently has no feeling in his legs.
Three of Aaron’s teammates, running back Tyler King and linebackers Jaquan Yulee and Donyae Moody, drove to Maryland to see him in the hospital. Herd head coach Doc Holliday also addressed the situation with a tweet posted to his Twitter account.
After redshirting as a true freshman, Aaron played in eight games this past season.
With the early signing period just about over, it seems coaches are ready to make a few staff changes and the Thundering Herd appear to be one of the first to make a move.
The school confirmed to local reporters that Thundering Herd offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Bill Legg won’t return to the team for 2018. It’s unclear if head coach Doc Holliday will hire a new coordinator to replace Legg but Todd Goebbel was listed as the team’s co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Legg, a West Virginia native who played for the rival Mountaineers back in the day, joined the program back in 2010 and played a big role in the team’s offensive success early in his tenure. The Herd went 13-1 in 2014 and won the Conference USA title but the offensive numbers have trended downward in the past three seasons.
Marshall at least sent Legg out on a high note, as the team won their sixth straight bowl game by beating Colorado State 31-28 in the New Mexico Bowl last Saturday.
The Streak lives. Barely.
Marshall (8-5) came into Saturday’s Gildan New Mexico Bowl having won five straight bowl games. Exiting Albuquerque, Marshall will head back to Huntington armed with a six-game postseason winning streak as they escaped with a 31-28 win over Colorado State (7-6).
The first half was all about the passing of quarterback Chase Litton. The second half was all about the running game — with a little Litton sprinkled in as well.
Up 21-14 at halftime, Tyler King outran the CSU defense to score on a 90-yard touchdown run very early in the third quarter to give MU a 28-14 lead that had the feeling of putting the game out of reach. King finished the win with 106 yards rushing, one of two Thundering Herd running backs to top the 100-yard mark as Keion Davis chipped in with a team-high 141 yards. Davis himself scored on a 68-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give the Herd its halftime lead.
After throwing for 177 in the first half, Litton finished with 262 through the air. Tyre Brady, who caught six passes for 165 yards and a touchdown, was named the Player of the Game.
Entering the fourth quarter, MU held what walked, talked and looked like an extremely comfortable 31-14 lead. CSU, however, cut the lead to 31-28 midway through the quarter on a pair of Nick Stevens touchdowns (one passing, one rushing). Getting the ball back with just over six minutes remaining and pinned back on their own 16-yard line, the Rams, who caught a break when a fumble recovered by the Herd was negated by defensive holding, couldn’t reach midfield on their last drive as their hopes for a come-from-behind win were extinguished after turning the ball over on downs.
(That Michael Gallup catch to briefly extend that last drive, though. Wow.)
While Marshall extended its winning streak — Doc Holliday is 5-0 as head coach — Colorado State extended a skein in the opposite direction as the Rams have now lost four bowl games in a row.
If you’re a fan of defensive football, you were loving the Gildan New Mexico Bowl — until the second quarter happened.
After a first quarter completely dominated by both defenses, the two combatants traded offensive jabs in the second as Marshall (7-5) took a 21-14 lead on Colorado State (7-5) into the halftime locker room. And what a second quarter it was as the two teams combined for three lead changes and a pair of ties.
Very early in the period, Thundering Herd quarterback Chase Litton threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Tyre Brady to account for the first score of the half. On the ensuing possession, a Detrich Clark five-yard touchdown catch from Nick Stevens capped 15-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game at 7-all. The possession after that, Litton tossed his second touchdown pass, hitting Ryan Yurachek from 15 yards out for MU’s second lead of the contest. The possession after that, Stevens called his own number and scored on a nine-yard run to knot the score once again. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before but, on the possession after that, Keion Davis rumbled 68 yards yards for a touchdown to hand the lad back to the Herd.
Litton finished the half with 185 yards passing, 136 of which went to Brady. Stevens, meanwhile, passed for 128 yards.
On the running side of the ledger, Davis had 85 yards on the ground on just six carries.
Thanks to special teams, the Herd, looking to win its sixth straight bowl game, could’ve taken a two-touchdown lead into halftime as Hyleck Foster returned a punt 83 yards for a score early in the first quarter. However, he was penalized for an illegal fair-catch signal and the touchdown was taken off the board.
While the Herd is looking to extend a winning streak, the Rams are looking to snap its three-game bowl losing streak. Their last postseason win? The 2013 New Mexico Bowl
Colorado State will get the ball on offense to start the second half.