Fairland’s Lambiotte signs with Marshall
ROME TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Marshall University landed one of the better quarterbacks in football-rich Ohio on Tuesday and had to go just eight miles from campus to do so.
Fairland High School all-state passer Joel Lambiotte signed with the Thundering Herd, choosing Marshall over scholarship offers from Marietta College and West Virginia Wesleyan College. Miami (Ohio) University and several other schools also showed interest.
″(Marshall offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey) invited me to check out a practice and I did,” said Lambiotte, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound senior. “They told me that they wanted me to come.”
Lambiotte didn’t, however, immediately accept Marshall’s offer of a preferred walk-on roster spot. The honor student with a 4.6 GPA and 24 on the ACT opted to think it over. Lambiotte visited practice twice more before trading the kelly green
of Fairland for the kelly green of Marshall.
“I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just seeking the glorification of (NCAA) Division I,” said Lambiotte, who plans to major in radiology. “I want to go DI and try it out. I know it will be tough going to school for the field of medicine and playing football, but my sister (McKenzie) has been helping me with scheduling and such. I like what I saw of the football program’s academic side, the way they conduct study sessions and their study room and all that goes with it.”
A first-team selection on The Herald-Dispatch All Tri-State squad, Lambiotte was selected for the prestigious Ohio North-South Classic and threw a touchdown pass in leading the South to a 35-33 victory. Last season, Lambiotte completed 170 of 262 passes for 2,580 yards and 32 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Lambiotte also starred as a safety and punter while helping the Dragons to the Ohio Division IV playoffs.
He threw for more than 4,000 yards in his career and started in a school-record 41 games. He also played for Fairland’s basketball team, which won four consecutive Ohio Valley Conference championships and reached the state tournament Final Four his sophomore season.
Fairland coach Melvin Cunningham, a NCAA Division I-AA All-American cornerback at Marshall in 1996, said Marshall is bringing in an excellent player and compared Lambiotte mentally to former MU star Chad Pennington. Cunningham also pointed to recent Marshall non-scholarship players Chase Hancock and Malik Gant, who earned scholarships, starting jobs and NFL tryouts.
Cunningham, who played at tiny Matewan High School in West Virginia, said schools the size of Fairland (about 375 students) might not attract the interest of big-city schools, but feature many outstanding players such as Lambiotte, who rushed for 658 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.
“So many times in college football, individuals get overlooked,” Cunningham said. “The smaller the place, the bigger the secrets. Joel’s going to work hard, study and always be ready. In today’s game, you have to have mobile quarterbacks and Joel is. He has the ability to decipher coverages and he’ll walk in ready to do those things. He’ll come in with the ability to understand what they’re teaching.”