Marshall RB Rasheen Ali takes undisclosed leave of absence

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall running back Rasheen Ali, one of the nation’s top freshman rushers last season, is taking a leave of absence for undisclosed reasons, coach Charles Huff said.

Ali’s exit comes less than two weeks before Marshall opens the season Sept. 3 at home against Norfolk State of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Ali rushed for 1,401 yards and 23 touchdowns last season and was expected to be a big part of the offense again as Marshall enters its first season in the Sun Belt Conference.

No timetable was given for Ali’s return.

“Rasheen will be away from the team for some time, and as soon as he is mentally, physically and emotionally ready to return, he will be back,” Huff said in a statement. “Our team and staff are doing a great job of supporting him and we are looking forward to getting him back soon.

“Out of privacy and respect for Rasheen and his family, we will not comment further on this topic until he is back with us.”

Marshall hires Alabama assistant Huff as head coach

Mickey Welsh, Montgomery Advertiser via Imagn Content Services, LLC

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Marshall has given Alabama’s Charles Huff his first head coaching job.

Marshall announced Huff’s hiring Sunday. Huff spent the past two seasons as the Crimson Tide’s associate head coach and running backs coach and is widely known as a top recruiter.

The 37-year-old Huff is Marshall’s first Black head football coach. He is a 2005 graduate of Hampton, where he played center, guard, fullback and tight end.

Huff replaces Conference USA coach of the year Doc Holliday, whose contract was not renewed. Marshall started the season 7-0 and moved up to No. 15 in The Associated Press poll before losing its final three games. Holliday went 85-54 in 11 seasons, winning the league title in 2014.

“My family and I are so excited to be joining the Marshall University football program,” Huff said in a statement. “The history, tradition and passionate fan base this university has is second to none. To the current players, former players, fans and supporters, it’s time to unite like never before. We’ve got work to do and we need everyone working together to take this program to the next level!”

Marshall’s Board of Governors is scheduled to meet Monday to approve Huff’s contract. An introductory news conference will be held later.

The hiring comes less than a week after Alabama beat Ohio State for the national championship. Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said he was happy to see Huff “get the well-deserved opportunity to run his program. We always want our coaches to grow and advance in the profession and Charles has worked very hard to earn this opportunity.”

Among Huff’s other stints as an assistant included Mississippi State and Penn State. He also spent a season with the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.

Under Huff, consensus All-America running back Najee Harris rushed for 1,224 yards in 2019 and 1,466 yards this season. At Penn State, he recruited and developed consensus All-American Saquon Barkley.

“This is an exciting day for Marshall University football and I can’t wait for Coach Huff to get here,” Marshall President Jerome Gilbert said. “He is going to energize the Herd fanbase and I know folks are going to love him and his style of football.”

Marshall’s defense led the nation with 13 points allowed per game and gave up the second-fewest yards at 279 per game. But Marshall was outscored 59-23 in its final three games.

Marshall will return quarterback Grant Wells, the conference’s freshman of the year. Wells completed 61% of his passes for 2,091 yards with 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

But running back Brenden Knox and defensive lineman Darius Hodge are skipping their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft. Hodge led Marshall with 6 1/2 sacks and nine tackles for loss.

New South Carolina coach Shane Beamer hires coordinators

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina’s new football coach Shane Beamer has hired NFL assistant Marcus Satterfield as offensive coordinator and Western Kentucky’s Clayton White as defensive coordinator.

Beamer also named Luke Day of Marshall as the Gamecocks strength and conditioning coach. South Carolina’s first-year coach announced the hirings.

Satterfield, who will also serve as quarterbacks coach, has spent the past three seasons working under Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule. Satterfield was director of recruiting under Rhule at Baylor in 2018 before becoming the Bears’ tight ends coach the next season.

Satterfield spent this past season as the Panthers’ assistant offensive line coach after Rhule jumped to the NFL.

Satterfield steps in for South Carolina interim coach Mike Bobo, who Beamer has retained on staff after his hiring last month. But Bobo accepted an offer to join Auburn and new coach Bryan Harsin as its offensive coordinator.

White has spent the past four seasons as defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach for the Hilltoppers. He was nominated for the Frank Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in college football, in 2017, 2019 and 2020.

Day spent last season as head strength coach at Marshall.