Class of 2013 prospect Lakeith Murray gave Marshall a sight-unseen verbal commitment on January 11, two weeks before he took an official visit to the Conference USA school.
His weekend trip reaffirmed his decision.
"It was everything I could imagine and more," said Murray, who is a 6-foot, 180-pound safety from Ventura College in Ventura, California. "The coaches and players made me feel like a family member. They reassured me. I felt like I was moving in and staying there, not just taking a visit. I really don't know what I thought Marshall or Huntington would be like before my visit, but I love it there."
Murray and three other official visitors -- Davon Durant, Shykeem Pitts and Tony Pittman-- toured the campus and community, including the 1970 plane crash victims' burial site at Spring Hill Cemetery.
"That was pretty big," said Murray, who is a two-star recruit. "Now that I'm going to be a part of it, it is going to be a part of me. I have to carry on what they left behind. It was really special to see that. It really opened my eyes and made me feel like a part of Herd Nation already. Hopefully, we can bring some joy back to Huntington."
Murray said his favorite part of his visit was spending time with his future teammates.
"You would have thought we had been teammates for months," he said. "We hooked up and bonded real well."
A Florida native, Murray also was treated to snow during his visit.
"That was different," he said. "It wasn't too cold, though. I thought I would be freezing."
Murray had considered taking an official visit to South Florida on February 1-3, the final weekend before Signing Day, but he said he is done with the recruiting process.
"I won't be taking any more visits," Murray said. "I'm signing with Marshall. I will be a member of the Thundering Herd."
Murray has scholarship offers from Marshall, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Southeastern Louisiana and Wyoming. Boise State, Florida Atlantic, Fresno State, Kansas State, Louisiana Lafayette, New Mexico State, South Florida and Texas-San Antonio also have shown interest in him.
Murray finished his two-year career with the Pirates with 61 tackles, 12 pass breakups and six interceptions in 18 games. He had 30 tackles, five pass breakups and four interceptions in nine games in 2011 and 31 tackles, seven pass breakups, two interceptions, one fumble recovery and one sack in nine games in 2012.
Murray originally was a Class of 2010 prospect from Lyman High School in Longwood, Florida. He signed with Charleston Southern and redshirted at the Big South Conference school that year. Murray decided he wanted to give himself an opportunity to play at the FBS level rather than the FCS level, so he transferred to Ventura.
Jacob Messer is the managing editor for HerdNation.com. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. All comments and feedback are welcome.