Marshall Thundering Herd football is no stranger to prolific and record-setting quarterbacks. Over the years, the Herd has produced some of the greatest quarterbacks in college football history.
Names like Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich, Rakeem Cato, and Michael Payton are legendary names in college football and all had outstanding success at Marshall. Chase Litton was putting up some impressive numbers over his three years with the program, but declared for the NFL Draft earlier this year.
The move forces the Herd to find a new starting quarterback, but with only young and inexperienced quarterbacks on the roster, the choice would be that much harder to make. This led to many believing Marshall needed to go the graduate transfer route for this season at quarterback.
And over the past few days, not only has Marshall gotten a graduate transfer quarterback, it might have gotten the best one available anywhere in the country. It was reported the night before National Signing Day that highly sought-after graduate transfer quarterback Alex Thomson would transfer to Marshall.
Thomson chose Marshall over two Power Five schools in Tennessee and Baylor and comes in with rave reviews from college football aficionados. And in some cases, he is even garnering NFL attention. Former NFL star Phil Simms has worked out with Thomson in recent memory and had some high praise for the former Wagner star.
“He can play at any level,” Simms said. “There’s no question. If things fall right [with his college situation], I definitely think he’s a pro prospect. I don’t even have to hesitate to say that.” – Yahoo Sports
Simms isn’t the only NFL name to have high praise for Thomson. Current San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello was Thomson’s offensive coordinator at Wagner in the past, and he believes Thomson is a sure-fire NFL talent.
“I think he’s an NFL quarterback,” Scangarello said. “I have no doubt about it. He’s athletic, smart and tough, and he’s just scratching the surface as a player. He’s as good as the back-up quarterbacks in the NFL right now. I really believe that. He’s legit.” – Yahoo Sports
“If I was the offensive coordinator at Alabama, I’d want him to be my quarterback,” Scangarello said. “I’d take him anywhere. I’m going to draft the guy someday. He’s legit. He can play anywhere.” – Yahoo Sports
Thomson battled through some injury issues at Wagner, but still managed to show his talent. During the 2016 season, he threw for 2,436 yards, 16 touchdowns, and only five interceptions. He has a 3.55 GPA and will graduate from Wagner in the spring where he will then have two years of eligibility to play for Marshall starting this coming season.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound gunslinger was heavily influenced to come to Marshall thanks, in part, because of new Herd offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey, who’s offensive prowess reportedly impressed Thomson. The decision to transfer to Marshall over Baylor or Tennessee had a lot to do with Marshall being in a better position to win immediately.
“I just think Marshall is the best fit for me,” Thomson told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday night. “I had great communication with the coaching staff. I can see myself winning a conference championship there.” – Yahoo Sports
Thomson will have many weapons at his disposal on offense for the Herd assuming he gets the starting quarterback job. Marshall returns nine starters offensively from a team that finished the 2017 season at 8-5 overall with a New Mexico Bowl victory.
The most dangerous offensive weapon the Herd returns is wide receiver Tyre Brady, who can help make Thomson’s transition from the FCS to the FBS even smoother. Brady was a first-team all-conference receiver in 2017 that averaged over 15 yards-per-catch and accounted for 62 receptions for 942 yards and eight touchdowns.
If Thomson ends up being what many believe he will be at Marshall, the Herd could be set for a special ride given how much talent the team has from top to bottom. The offense returns almost every starter in 2018 and the defense returns an abundance of talent and most of its starters as well.
Along with the addition of Thomson, the Herd is fresh off a successful National Signing Day as well. According to Rivals, Marshall had the best recruiting class in C-USA by finishing tied for 69th overall among all FBS teams and the seventh best recruiting class among all Group of Five teams.
Thomson has helped Marshall’s momentum grow and with the recent signing day additions, the Herd is primed for outstanding success in the future.