D3′s Corner: Marrow will see friendly foe at the HorseshoeWritten by Mike Bauman | | email@example.com
The last time the Rockets squared off with the Buckeyes, Toledo senior cornerback Desmond Marrow watched from the sideline as his friend and Ohio State running back Dan Herron helped OSU dismantle UT 38-0 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in 2009.
The pair has known one another for quite awhile. In high school, Marrow played at Cardinal Mooney and Herron played at Warren Harding as both schools were members of the Steel Valley Conference at that time.
“We still were cool growing up,” Marrow said. “We used to hang out. On the weekends, they would come down to Youngstown or we’d go up to Warren and just hang out, whether it’s like after a game, or when we both don’t have a game or things like that. I’ve known him since I was younger, besides football. We’ve been friends [for awhile].”
When Toledo (1-0) faced Ohio State (1-0) two years ago, Marrow was still recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus he suffered the previous season against Northern Illinois.
“It was tough, but everything happens for a reason,” Marrow said. “I’m blessed to still have the opportunity to play against them now in my last season here at Toledo.”
This time around Marrow is healthy, while Herron will be serving the second of a five-game suspension he received for 2011 after it was discovered that he was part of a group of Buckeyes who traded memorabilia for tattoos. Herron, who had 42 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown in that 38-0 victory over UT two years ago, still frequently communicates with Marrow.
“He tweeted me and said he watched film on me,” Marrow said. “Last time he was playing and I didn’t get to play, and this time we’re playing them again and he’s not playing, so we just kind of missed each other.”
A former Ohio State assistant, UT head coach Tim Beckman knows there will be several players like Marrow and Herron this Saturday who competed against each other in high school and enjoys that aspect of these in-state contests.
“We’re going to recruit Ohio,” said Beckman, who coached the Buckeyes’ cornerbacks from 2005-06 under former OSU head coach Jim Tressel. “What we call ‘Rocket Nation,’ we’re going to recruit players in the four-hour radius [from Toledo], and the same thing’s at Ohio State. The majority of their players are from Ohio—Midwest United States-type football players—and that’s basically our football team, too.
“So the paths have crossed and they have been involved with one another, from me personally being involved in recruiting some of them to the fact of coaching some of them when they were there.”
Marrow never received an official offer from Ohio State, but the Buckeyes did recruit him in high school. Ironically, that interest first started after a game against Warren Harding.
“I got my first letter from Ohio State right after we played Warren Harding, actually,” Marrow said. “This is when they had Mario Manningham. He played receiver, and our defense, we had a real good game against him. Jim Tressel was at the game because they were trying to sign Mario out of high school.”
Marrow played well that game and received a letter in the mail from Tressel the following Monday, one he still has to this day.
“I met [Tressel] a number of times, especially when I was younger and he was coaching at YSU,” Marrow said. “My family knows him real well.”
Marrow started against Michigan when Toledo beat the Wolverines 13-10 at the Big House in 2008, and if the Rockets manage to pull off the upset on Saturday, they would be the only Mid-American Conference team in history to have defeated both Michigan and Ohio State. Even with Tressel gone and Herron out, Marrow is excited for the opportunity to prove that UT is not the same team that got shut out in its’ previous two matchups with the Buckeyes, adding that just being from Ohio makes this game personal.
“That’d be sweet to win in the Big House and win in the Shoe,” Marrow said. “I think more importantly, to win this year would mean more than anything because we’ve got a good team—on offense and defense, and then on special teams. Just to start off 2-0 in the season, then come back after this week and play one of the top-five teams in the nation [in Boise State] in the Glass Bowl, it’s just an opportunity, and as a competitor you want to compete. I’m sure that everyone on my team wants to compete.”