The top 10 players returning to the Marshall Thundering Herd for the 2020 college football season.
Important to note that this list is based upon last year's data and film from on each specific team as well as judgment based upon the player's position both his skill and the level of talent around him at the said position and influential cohorts. Positional value also plays a large factor in these rankings as does the offensive or defensive scheme.
1 Brenden Knox, RB
2. Isaiah Green, QB
3. Nazeeh Johnson, S
4. Tevante Beckett, LB
5. Cain Madden, G
6. Darius Hodge, DE
7. Steven Gilmore, CB
8. Xavier Gaines, TE
9. Jaylon McClain-Sapp, CB
10. Josh Ball, T
Honorable Mention: Will Ulmer, T; Tarik Adams, T; Willie Johnson, WR; Rodney Cromm, DI; Alex Mollette, G
This team returns a bevy of talent but none better than Knox who totaled 1,352 yards on the ground a season ago. He was a scoring machine but more importantly kept the chains moving for first downs on a regular basis. Knox has great contact balance and despite the gaudy average of 5.0 being impressive enough, the yards after contact were perhaps even more impressive.
Green also had a great year on the ground and in the designed run game as well, not just off scrambles. Through the air, he totaled 2,448 yards despite suffering through some unfortunate drop luck by his receivers. He was at his best when he had a healthy Obi Obialo to throw to, that only came in four games, however. If Johnson and perhaps a few more receivers can step up, the sky is the limit for Green through the air.
Madden is a tough guard with great pass sets and an impressive get off. He'll reach the second level in the run game just as easy as he'll pancake your in pass protection while Ball had his moments in the run game as well.
The Thundering Herd's depth, though, comes from the defensive side of the ball. Johnson is a sure tackler with terrific instincts in coverage. He can make plays on balls not even in his primary coverage and will not miss tackles in space.
Beckett led the team in tackles, and frankly, it wasn't even close. Quite literally, he was in on every play, and that speaks to his ability to roam sideline-to-sideline. And then there's Hodge who had 13 combined sacks and hits a season ago, and should have even more chances to get home with pressure this year.
At cornerback, both Gilmore and McClain-Sapp return with a combined 10 plays on the ball and three picks. Gilmore was the heavily targeted one of this pair but McClain-Sapp allowed just four catches all season long. In a featured role, McClain-Sapp could breakout.