Marshall football duo named to watch lists
HUNTINGTON - Marshall University junior safety Malik Gant joined the Thundering Herd football program as an unheralded walk-on with no scholarship offers in the Class of 2015.
Three years later, Gant is considered one of the 35 best defensive backs in the nation. Gant, a junior from Washington, D.C., was named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, an honor given to the nation’s top defensive back each year.
Out of H.D. Woodson High School in Washington, D.C., Gant had no scholarship offers, prompting him to walk on with the Herd.
Since that time, Gant has exploded onto the scene, earning a scholarship in spring 2017 and starting job in the subsequent fall after working his way through the depth chart.
Gant finished second on the Herd defense with 100 tackles while adding 6.5 tackles for loss and five pass breakups from his safety spot in 2017.
Known for being a big hitter, the 6-2, 190-pound safety was recently named as a 2018 Preseason All-Conference USA selection.
In addition to Gant, Marshall defensive end/linebacker Juwon Young was named to the Butkus Award Watch List as well. The Butkus Award is given annually to the nation’s top linebacker.
Young, who played linebacker for the Herd in 2017, made the transition to more of a hybrid spot in spring football and will see more time as a defensive end/linebacker in the multiple schemes of the defense this season.
In nine 2017 games, Young finished with 41 tackles, including three for loss with three pass breakups, a half-sack and a forced fumble last season.
The former University of Miami player is one of many veteran presences on a Marshall defense that returns nine starters from a top-20 scoring defense (19.9 points per game) in 2017.