UT ‘player of the week’ Marrow was almost a RedHawkWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
NOTE: This is the 10th installment of a weekly series in which staff writer Mike Bauman will follow sixth-year Toledo senior cornerback Desmond Marrow for the 2011 season.
Toledo cornerback Desmond Marrow was named as the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Week following a 28-21 victory over Bowling Green on Oct. 15.
The senior cornerback had 10 tackles and a career-high three passes defensed against the Falcons.
With Marrow’s award, Toledo has had a player honored by the MAC for a weekly award in six of seven weeks this season. Junior wide receiver Eric Page has been honored three times while junior linebacker Robert Bell and senior kicker Ryan Casano have each received a weekly honor once.
But Marrow was almost a RedHawk instead of a Rocket.
Miami (Ohio), which upset No. 24-ranked Northern Illinois 26-21 in last season’s MAC championship game, was the school Marrow originally committed to back when he was a junior at Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown.
“Yeah, that is kind of crazy,” Marrow said. “Actually, that crossed my mind. I thought about that like, ‘Man, I would have been there winning the MAC Championship,’ but I got my second chance. I’m just now trying to make the best of it here at Toledo and win this year.”
At the time of last year’s MAC Championship, Marrow did not know whether he would be back with the Rockets in 2011. He was still waiting to hear from the NCAA to see if his waiver request to receive a sixth year of eligibility due to medical hardship would be granted.
“I was more mad at the fact that we lost to Northern [Illinois], so I kind of wanted Northern [Illinois] to lose just because we had a bad taste in our mouth from that game,” Marrow said. “Just seeing Miami pull that game out, I know they were the underdog by, like, a lot of points and they came out and won. So that was good for them.”
After just one unofficial visit in high school, Marrow made a verbal commitment to the RedHawks, the first college he remembers offering him a full ride. His parents were big on academics, and Marrow was also impressed with former Miami assistant coach Tim Cooper.
“I think I kind of jumped the gun and just committed too early,” Marrow said. “Just a kid from Youngstown hearing I could go to school for free, that just sounded, like, amazing to me and my parents.”
Once Marrow sat down and gave his decision some thought, he retracted his verbal commitment from the RedHawks. A number of factors helped change his mind. His uncle, Vince Marrow, played at Toledo. Two of Marrow’s good friends from Youngstown in senior tight end Jerome Jones and former Rocket Joe Underwood had committed to UT. Toledo was also closer to home.
As his days at Cardinal Mooney wound down, Marrow had visited the UT campus with his parents and liked what he saw. Still, the night before national signing day in 2006 he had yet to decide if he was going to play for the Rockets.
“I wasn’t sure where I was going to go,” Marrow said. “But the night before signing day, I prayed about it and then I just committed with Toledo.”
Now Marrow has come full circle. Miami was picked to win the MAC East Division in the conference’s preseason poll, while UT was picked to win the MAC. A victory over the RedHawks on Oct. 22 would help Toledo achieve that goal. In his career, Marrow has never beaten Miami.
The RedHawks are the first opponent in a three-game home stand for the Rockets. The other teams coming to the Glass Bowl during that stretch are Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.