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April 8, 2012
Most of the in-state prospects whom Marshall is recruiting live within an hour of the Conference USA school, including Winfield's David Gaydosz, South Charleston's Trevond Reese, George Washington's Ryan Switzer and Spring Valley's Elijah Wellman.
However, there is another Thundering Herd target far from Huntington, tucked in the Eastern Panhandle between Maryland and Virginia.
A 6-foot-5, 250-pound offensive lineman from Martinsburg High School, Eugene German is a self-described military brat who is in his second stint in West Virginia. He also has lived in Colorado, Georgia, Germany, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas.
"I lived here from sixth grade to eighth grade," said German, whose mother is a retired Army communications officer. "Then, we went to Colorado. Then, we came back in the second semester of 10th grade. The houses were nicer and cheaper than they were in Maryland or Washington, D.C."
Marshall gave German his first and only scholarship offer three weeks ago.
"I was in gym class playing volleyball," said German, who plans to participate in summer camps at Duke, Marshall and Rutgers. "(Martinsburg) Coach (David Walker) came and got me out of class. He said Marshall wanted to offer me a full scholarship. A huge smile came across my face. I said, 'Are you serious?' I couldn't believe it. It made me very proud and happy."
Boston College, Connecticut, Duke, Penn State, Rutgers, Temple and Wisconsin also are recruiting German, who helped Martinsburg win the Class AAA state title in football last fall.
"They are all the same right now," said German, whose lead recruiter for the Thundering Herd is offensive line coach Geep Wade. "They are all in the running. Marshall has an advantage because of the scholarship offer."
German previously visited Marshall for an academic event.
"I enjoyed the atmosphere there," he said.
German could play guard or tackle at the next level. He ran the 40-yard dash between 5.3 and 5.4 seconds last month at a Nike Sparq Combine in Philadelphia, where he made the all-combine team, but he said his best time is 5.1 seconds. He power cleans 255 pounds, bench presses 270 pounds, squats 405 pounds and dead lifts 500 pounds.
"My strength is my ability to get out there and run and play a whole game," said German, who plans to make his decision after his senior season. "I'm very athletic and very conditioned.
"My weakness is I sometimes get on myself a little too hard, and I get frustrated. I need to become mentally stronger."
German is a three-sport athlete who also is on the basketball and track teams at Martinsburg. His other hobbies include church and community service.
"I help out at my church; I sing and usher," German said. "I like reading to kids at school. When I have free time, I like to play checkers with my friend."
Asked to describe himself on and off the field, German said: "I would describe myself as a gentleman and a scholar. I am real respectable. I have good values that were instilled in me at an early age by both of my parents. I know (those values) will help me in college because they have helped me this far. My parents also instilled discipline in me."
German's grade point average and SAT score are high enough to make him academically eligible in college. He is undecided on a major, but he is interested in becoming an optometrist, oral surgeon or psychologist.
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.