The nation’s top passer resides in Huntington, W.Va. Marshall Thundering Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato, a sophomore who started for Marshall throughout his freshman season, leads the nation in passing. Cato is poised to lead Marshall (2-2, 1-0 Conference USA) into West Lafayette, Ind., for a non-conference game against the Purdue Boilermakers (2-1, 0-0 Big 10 Conference) on Saturday.
A Miami native, Cato paces a productive Marshall offense that ranks first in the country in passing. High-powered Marshall is averaging 383.5 passing yards and 41 points per game. But despite the offensive output, Marshall sits at 2-2. The Thundering Herd has defeated the Western Carolina Catamounts and the Rice Owls. Marshall outlasted Rice 54-51 in overtime last weekend. The Thundering Herd has dropped games to the West Virginia Mountaineers and Ohio Bobcats.
Of course, Cato is the catalyst for the Marshall offense. In four games, Cato has completed 142 of 200 passes for 1,481 yards and 10 touchdowns. Cato has only thrown two interceptions in his 200 pass attempts.
The Marshall quarterback is on pace to shatter the passing marks he compiled in 2011. Cato concluded the 12011 season 182 of 304 for 2,059 yards and 15 touchdowns. He threw 10 interceptions in 2011, his freshman season. An accomplished college football rookie in 2011, Cato was named the National Freshman of the Week by Rivals.com after he completed 27 of 42 passes for 275 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in a home win over the Southern Miss Golden Eagles.
Cato came to Marshall via Miami Central High School. During his prep career, Cato passed for 9,412 yards and 103 touchdowns. He was a four-year starter at Miami Central and still holds numerous Miami-Dade County passing records. Cato chose Marshall over West Virginia, Cincinnati and Florida International.