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Herd looking to fill sizable void at wide receiver

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If you blinked on Nov. 17, you might have missed Marshall's senior-day ceremony, what with that unusually small class of eight.

A look at the jersey numbers on the field can clue you in on some of the Thundering Herd's most pressing needs - 3, 9, 6 and 10.

Nos. 6 and 10 belonged to the safeties-for-a-year, Dominick LeGrande and Okechukwu Okoroha. Nos. 3 and 9 belonged to wide receivers Aaron Dobson and Antavious Wilson.

The departure of Dobson and Wilson leave a sizable void - combined, they accounted for 352 receptions, 4,667 yards, 42 touchdowns and a few highlight-reel moments in their four seasons.

So yes, Marshall needs reinforcements at receiver. With the midseason junior-college signing period five days away, MU coaches are aggressively pursuing those.

Perhaps the most intriguing target, the Gazette has learned, is Markeith Ambles of Arizona Western College in Yuma. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound McDonough, Ga., native was an ESPN Top 150 prospect in 2010, when he signed at Southern California out of Henry County High. He played in the U.S. Army All-American Game.

He was rated as high as five stars then, and retains a four-star rating by ESPN. Rivals has dropped him to three starts, a demotion probably caused by a checkered beginning to his career.

Ambles caught one pass for 3 yards as a true freshman, but left the Trojans in November. He rejoined the team in January, but fell too far behind in his school work to regain eligibility for the 2011 season. From there, he went to Arizona Western, where he played on an 8-2 team in the just ended-season.

Marshall is reportedly battling Illinois for Ambles.

A year ago, the Herd went for help in the trenches with the signing of offensive lineman Gage Niemeyer and defensive tackle Ken Smith. Niemeyer often filled in at right tackle, while Smith's season was hampered by injury.

In other recruiting items, 2012 Miami signee Angelo Jean-Louis, an ESPN 150 receiver from Wellington, Fla., is reportedly visiting Marshall. Ranked fourth among the nation's receivers, he is attending Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy but reportedly has not improved his academic standing.

Listed at 6-foot, 185 pounds, ESPN calls him a potential inside or outside receiver with "a knack for making things look effortless."

Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsmock@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.


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