Weeks of speculation finally can be confirmed.
Former Atlanta (Ga.) Sports Academy and Boyd Anderson (Fla.) High School teammates Corey Tindal and Kent Turene officially are enrolling at Marshall as mid-year academic non-qualifiers.
In separate interviews with Herd Nation on Tuesday, the highly regarded Class of 2011 prospects said they will report January 7.
Turene said their decision came down to East Carolina and Marshall, two Conference USA schools that are allowed to take accept academic non-qualifiers, more commonly known as "props."
Tindal and Turene also graduated from the alma mater of former Marshall player Tavaris Thompson and current Marshall player Marques Aiken, which added to their familiarity with the program.
"I made the decision yesterday," Turene said.
"When we went to prep school, we decided we would try to go to the same school. We were going to go somewhere together no matter where we went."
"We feel like Marshall is on the rise," Tindal said, "and we want to be a part of it.
Marshall is a school that gives you a chance to prove yourself (academically and athletically)."
Tindal and Turene must sit out an entire year before they can practice or play for the Thundering Herd.
"It's just another bump on the road to success," Turene said.
Tindal and Turene know sitting out will not be easy.
"I love the game," Tindal said, "so that will be hard, but it will motivate me."
If they achieve their eligibility, their first participation will be spring practice in 2013.
"Don't worry about that," Tindal said. "We are going to focus on school. We are going to go hard in the classroom. We are going to push each other hard."
"We are going to stay in the books," Turene said. "We are going to study, and we are going to be more focused. I know I'm getting an opportunity to play again. I thank God for it. It's another blessing to come in there and show what I have."
Tindal and Turene are well aware of Marshall's success with academic non-qualifiers. Case in point: Thundering Herd star and All-America candidate Vinny Curry is a former academic non-qualifier.
Also, former Colorado State commit RaShawde Myers and former Florida recruit Travon Van are two former academic non-qualifiers who are playing for Marshall this year after sitting out last year.
Former Southern California recruit Steve Dillon, former Arizona State commit Steward Butler and former Miami prospect Kevin Grooms are on campus as academic non-qualifiers this year trying to earn their eligibility.
"We can make our own dream team at Marshall," Turene said. "I'm coming in there to make noise. I'm going to try to be the best player Marshall has ever had."
"When we all get on the field at the same time, we are going to be able to compete with some of the best teams in the country," Tindal said. "I can't wait until that happens."
Curry received encouragement from and returned it to fellow academic non-qualifiers Brandon Bullock and Delvin Johnson, who achieved their eligibility and have played alongside him the past three years.
Tindal and Turene, who will be roommates, will do the same for each other.
"Most definitely," Tindal said. "We have a great bond with each other. He is like a brother to me."
"Having a friend like him," Turene said, "will make it much easier."
Grooms is Tindal's cousin and Turene's friend.
"That is someone else we can lean on," Tindal said.
Their lead recruiter for the Thundering Herd is recruiting coordinator and running backs coach JaJuan Seider.
A 6-foot-3, 230-pound, three-star linebacker, Turene signed with Georgia last year. As a senior, he had scholarship offers from California, Central Florida, Cincinnati, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Marshall, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, South Carolina, South Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, USC, Wake Forest, West Virginia and Western Kentucky.
Turene visited Georgia, Nebraska, Texas Tech and USC before picking the Bulldogs over the Cornhuskers, the Red Raiders and the Trojans.
Rivals ranked him as the nation's No. 18 inside linebacker prospect for the Class of 2011.
A 5-foot-10, 175-pound, three-star cornerback, Tindal signed with Florida International last year. As a senior, he had scholarship offers from Bowling Green, Buffalo, Marshall, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Mexico State, Toledo, Western Kentucky and Western Michigan.
He visited Maryland and Western Michigan but opted for Florida International. Rivals ranked him as the nation's No. 52 cornerback prospect for the Class of 2011.
Turene and Tindal watched Marshall's 20-10 victory versus Florida International in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.
It was an ironic twist for Tindal, who signed with the Golden Panthers in February but cheered for the Thundering Herd on Tuesday.
"It's all Marshall now," he said. "I have to go with Marshall."
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