Cody Slate: The Best College Football Player You've Never Heard Of?

Calvin W Boaz@Burrellfan1Correspondent IIAugust 10, 2009

According to Thefreedictionary.com, the definition of a clean slate is an opportunity to start over without prejudice. After a disappointing 2008, Cody Slate, the starting tight end for the Marshall Thundering Herd, is looking to regain his previous form.

Last season was the first year since arriving on campus that Slate did not lead Marshall in receiving. He only made honorable mention All-Conference USA.

Because of an MCL sprain, Slate missed two games and caught just 40 passes for 510 yards. On the bright side, Slate did record a career high eight touchdowns.

Not only did the injury set Slate back, but Marshall's passing game struggled all year long under the command of redshirt freshman quarterback Mark Cann. The Herd's passing offense was ranked 29th in the FBS in 2007 but saw its ranking drop to 95th in 2008.

In 2007, Slate caught 66 passes for 818 yards and five touchdowns. He was the only sophomore in the FBS to rank in the top three tight ends in receptions per game and receiving yards per game.

For that season, SI.com and CollegeFootballNews.com voted Slate honorable mention All-America. The coaches in the conference voted him second-team All-Conference USA, while the media put him on the first team.

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As a freshman, Slate had 43 catches for 684 yards and six touchdowns. He became the first freshman since Randy Moss in 1996 to lead Marshall in receiving.

Faster than linebackers and bigger than safeties at 6'4'', 229 lbs, Slate is a nightmare for defenses to plan against. Slate's soft hands make him a reliable target to throw to in pressure situations.

Besides being healthy again, Slate enters this season with several reasons to expect a highly productive campaign this year.

Due to the graduation of wide receivers Darius Passmore and Emmanuel Spann, Slate will be the primary target Marshall will look at to produce. Based on spring practice, junior Brian Anderson will take over for Cann as the Thundering Herd's starting quarterback and help revitalize the passing game.

According to head coach Mark Synder, Slate has worked hard in the weight room to become more physical without losing any of his speed.

Cody has done his down-and-dirty best to wipe his slate clean.

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