DT Elijah Ratliff discusses why he flipped from Marshall to Kent State

Elijah Ratliff didn’t have much of a relationship with Marshall head coach Doc Holliday. The first and only time the two were ever in the place together is when Holliday asked Ratliff to blueshirt. This was during early fall, just three or four months after the defensive tackle from Reynoldsburg, Ohio native committed to the program in the summer.

“(Holliday) gave me the decision to, but at the same time I didn’t want to say ‘no’. If I’d have said no, I’d have nowhere else to go,” Ratliff told MAC Prospectus. So, he went along with it.

Blueshirt players are still able to participate in football and enroll in classes right out of high school, they’re still on scholarship and the scholarship allotment is counted towards the following year’s total. Blueshirt players are also not allowed to take an official visit to the school and they don’t sign an official letter of intent.

This was a conundrum that Ratliff didn’t particularly enjoy. At that point, Ratliff felt like his only connection with Marshall was with J.C. Price, the defensive line coach. Having only one connection with one school was an issue, being only a blueshirt player was another, but Ratliff said there were other issues going on that would later sway him from going to Marshall.

Eventually, Kent State expressed further interest. Kent State offered Ratliff before he was a Marshall commit, but they reached back out to him to try to schedule an at-home visit. Ratliff was low-key about his decommitment from Marshall last week, then went up to Kent State to hear what the Flashes had to say.

“Man, I’m telling you right now: Kent State’s head coach and that coaching staff is one of the best ones I’ve been with through the recruiting process — by far,” Ratliff said. “Coach (Sean) Lewis … talked with me and my family for, like, two and a half hours, something like that. I got to sit down and watch the defensive line film with the defensive line coach (Brian Cochran). The defensive coordinator (Tom Kaufman) is really personable and I loved to talk to him, so it was an awesome experience.”

Ratliff also noted that he’s had a relationship with outside linebackers coach Colin Ferrell — the only coach Lewis kept from the previous staff — that dates back to Ratliff’s freshman year.

“I was at a Michigan State camp when I was a freshman and (Ferrell) moved me up to the ‘big dog’ group … and I did pretty well there. Then I saw him my sophomore year at an Ohio State game. … Him and coach Jesse Williams, when he was at (Ohio), were the first two coaches who took interest in me,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff is listed at 6-foot-4, 265 pounds. By 247sports.com, Ratliff has a two-star rating with a 0.78 composite score. He said he plans to sign with Kent State in February.

Click here to watch Elijah Ratliff’s highlights.

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