Many have debated whether there is actually a rivalry between West Virginia University and Marshall University on the football field. The two teams have met on the field twelve times dating back to 1911 and WVU has prevailed in every contest. Many highlights and big name players have played over the years. In 1997 Marshall boasted the likes of Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, Doug Chapman and Chris Hanson while WVU was led by Marc Bulger, Amos Zereoue, and current Kanawha County Prosecutor Mark Plants. In 2010, WVU was led in dramatic fashion to an overtime victory by a young budding star, Geno Smith. Those games pale in comparison to the rivalry that is brewing between these two schools now. This one, however, is not played on the field.
The Diggerer has confirmed that Rakeem Cato, Marshall’s record breaking quarterback, who has just been named the Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year is graduating this year. Since Cato is a Junior, he still has a year of eligibility remaining. An unnamed source at WVU has confirmed that Cato plans to transfer to WVU for his final year of eligibility. Under NCAA regulations, Cato would be eligible to play immediately at WVU.
In case you were vacationing in the rain forests of South America this past year, WVU struggled at the quarterback position. Highly touted transfer Clint Trickett failed, as did junior Paul Millard and redshirt freshman Ford Childress. With WVU suffering their first losing season since the beginning of the Rich Rodriguez era, head coach Dana Holgorsen is on the hot seat. Bringing in a quarterback of Cato’s ability would be a positive end to an abysmal season.
This year, the three year starter threw for 3,579 yards completing 59 percent of his passes. His 36 touchdowns were fourth in the country and puts him only three TD’s behind the all-time mark set by Chad Pennington. The Cato-led offense is ranked seventh in scoring in the country at 43 points per game and is a leader in total offense as well (13th). Suffice it to say, Cato could play at WVU and would be a welcome addition to their team.
It gives Cato a bigger stage to showcase his abilities. Playing against tougher competition in a more difficult conference would boost his draft status as he sets his eyes on the NFL draft. Going to WVU and performing well should send him up the draft board in a hurry!
The unnamed source told The Diggerer, “This is going to happen. Rakeem just has to get through the bowl game before he announces. Doc (Holliday) and the staff are aware of this but are keeping it quiet.”
One thing’s for sure, when this one is final and the Mountaineer fires his musket, the WVU/Marshall rivalry will once again be fodder for water cooler discussions. Just remember you herd it here first!