Herd loaded on offense

A loaded Marshall team looks to be the most talented in Mel Kiper's breakdown of the Mid-American Conference East division.

Originally Published: August 2, 2004
By Mel Kiper Jr. | Special to ESPN Insider
Editor's note: ESPN.com's Mel Kiper Jr. continues his look at the best players in each conference by examining the top five players on the rosters of teams in the Mid-America East division (schools listed in alphabetical order).

Akron Zips
1. Charlie Frye, QB, sr. -- Had a spectacular year in 2003, completing 64.8 percent of his passes while throwing 22 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions. At 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, Frye is one of the faster players on the team, running the 40 in around 4.58 seconds, and is a smart, dedicated player. Needs better protection from the offensive line, though.
2. Dwayne LeFall, DE, sr. -- Somewhat of an underachiever, LeFall is one of the more talented ends in the conference but has been an up-and-down performer. If he can sustain his intensity level, his raw ability should help him improve on the 6 sacks he recorded last season, perhaps getting him 10-12 this year.
3. Domenik Hixon, WR, jr. -- Converted from free safety to receiver in the spring and will be key for a team that lost its top five receivers from a year ago. Hixon was excellent in spring practice and should provide a boost.
4. Chase Blackburn, DE, sr. -- At 6-3, 245 he is a linebacker-end combination. Will team with LeFall to put some heat on opposing passers off the edge.
5. Dennis Basch, TE, jr. -- Had only two catches last season but possesses a ton of talent in his 6-3, 250-pound frame. Basch has the hands to go from two receptions to 25.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst