YOUNGSTOWN — Chaney seniors Marquise and Marquan Herron are sticking together, choosing the University of Charleston in West Virginia’s state capital to continue their football careers.
But the decision wasn’t as cut and dried as you might imagine. Marquan picked Charleston first when Marquise was leaning toward Urbana (both are Division II programs in the Mountain East Conference).
A third triplet — Marshall Herron — is staying home and intends to walk on at Youngstown State University.
Three other Chaney football seniors — Miguel Burress, Key-Shaun Davis and Raymond Logan — have scholarships to Urbana.
But Marquise and Marquan, who are identical while Marshall is a fraternal triplet, have decided the bright lights are more appealing.
Chris Amill, Chaney’s head coach, said, “I think they really loved the city atmosphere at Charleston instead of the more rural area [around Urbana in central Ohio].”
Marquan was won over by his campus visit.
“It’s beautiful, active,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff to do around there … definitely the place for me.
“The coaches made us feel welcome. They’re passionate about their jobs,” Marquan said, adding that his brother had a change of heart.
“I decided first while he was leaning toward Urbana until we went to visit,” said Marquan who made first team All-Steel Valley Conference and honorable mention on the Associated Press’ All-Northeast Inland district team last fall.
“Then he was like, ‘I’m about to go to Charleston,” Marquan said, laughing, adding it was not a certainty that they would stay together when they pondered their futures. “There was a possibility [we’d separate].”
Marquise said he changed his preference because Charleston is more vibrant.
“I actually liked the environment a lot more,” Marquise said. “They have more sight-seeing [opportunities]. The stadium is located right beside the city, so there are a lot more things to do.”
Class size mattered.
“They aren’t too big so you could talk to your teachers individually,” he said. “The classes are a little bit smaller — the biggest class is [maybe] 32 people.
“And they have two cafeterias — I like to eat.”
Both plan to major in computer science programming and minor in cybersecurity. Marshall has decided to remain “close to home where it is comfortable.”
He plans to major in industrial design.
“I want to try out new things,” he said. “My plan is to start a business.”
The Herrons are the second set of triplets Amill has coached. Thirteen years ago when he was a Cardinal Mooney assistant, he coached the Ericksons — Brian, Brad and Brandon.
Even though all three Herrons’ first names start with M-A-R, Amill said he didn’t need to use nicknames to identify them.
“Marshall was the shorter of the three,” Amill said, adding that he relied on the jerseys Marquan (28) and Marquise (14) were wearing when their helmets were on. “Their bone structures and their faces are a little different.”
All three Herrons played for East High School until last fall when Chaney revived its varsity football program. Amill was East head coach Brian Marrow’s defensive coordinator for the 2017 and 2018 seasons after 16 seasons as an assistant with Mooney.
Marquan plays wide receiver on offense and split time at linebacker and defensive back. Charleston has recruited him as an athlete, meaning he could see action on both sides of the ball.
Marquise plays slot receiver and safety. Marshall was the Cowboys’ main running back and contributed as punter, kicker and cornerback.
As juniors, the Herrons were part of the East team that went 7-3 in the regular season and won the All-American Conference Red Tier crown. In the playoffs, the Golden Bears lost their first-round Division IV game to Girard (34-30). Girard went on to win three more games before losing in the state championship game.
The Herrons were Chaney students. Marquan said leaving the Golden Bears — then the only Youngstown City School with varsity teams — to join the reborn Cowboys was not a difficult transition.
“It wasn’t hard,” Marquan said of switching teams. “I liked my [seasons] at East, but I like Chaney a little more. I knew the environment.
“And the head coach already knew me.”
Marquise added, “And coach Chris has all these connections. He was getting us places during the summer, during the fall … getting our names out there.
“It wasn’t a hard adjustment.”
Marshall said switching wasn’t difficult “because I played with some of the people I played with at East. We already had chemistry with each other.”
Two teachers who have made an impact on Marquan are John Sandoval (pre-calculus) and Robert Reary (African-American history).
“They are so passionate about their jobs,” Marquan said. “I know they are not here just for the paycheck — they want their students to learn.”
For Marquise, English teacher Tina Banks has his respect.
“She was strict in the classroom about [students] talking — I liked the discipline,” he said. “In other classes, it [could be] hard to concentrate.”
He valued that, “especially in an English class where you’ve got to read.”
The teacher making an impact on Marshall is Quiana Faison.
“She’s been helping me with an essay for a scholarship,” he said.
Chaney went 6-4 in its first season back as a varsity program.
The game Marquan will remember most was Chaney’s 27-0 win over East in Week 10.
“There was a lot of rah-rah stuff going on,” Marquan said. “I was excited for that game.”
Marquise’s favorite game was the season opener against Cardinal Mooney, a 13-6 defeat.
“I was disappointed that we lost, just a lot of mistakes,” he said. “It was one of our biggest games because it was our opening game. It was a long time [since Chaney fielded a team] and we brought it back. That was exciting.”
“After we did [OK] against Mooney, that’s when I started to [feel] hope for the season.”
Marshall’s season highlight? His 98-yard run against Howland in a 36-0 victory. In the game, he topped 170 yards in rushing.
An expert on his brothers, Marshall was asked if Marquise or Marquan is faster.
“Not that I know of,” he said with a laugh.
Marquan prefers playing offense.
“It’s not that I’ve perfected the craft, but I’m a little better than on defense,” said Marquan, who had 362 yards receiving and scored four touchdowns. On defense, he recorded 43 tackles, eight sacks and five interceptions.
On defense, Marquise made 76 tackles (five for loss). He also had two sacks, three pass breakups, an interception, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
His preference is defending because he can be more proactive.
“On defense, you can make any play as long as you are right there,” Marquise said. “On offense, as a receiver, you’ve either got to wait to get the ball or for the play to come toward you.”
Marshall compiled 780 yards rushing, 11 touchdowns and 100 receiving yards. On defense, he made 30 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, six tackles for loss and one fumble recovery.
His favorite position was running back “because it showed my athleticism.”
There was a possibility of Marquan and Marquise facing off against each other as Urbana and Charleston are league rivals.
“That was actually one of our [discussions],” Marquise said of the possibility of competing against each other. “We were arguing about [the merits].”
Marquise said the Charleston tour changed his mind.
“It was when they [showed] us the schools, the classrooms,” he said. “The scenery was nice, so this was a bonus. They have tutors available for [athletes]. Every freshman and sophomore has to go to study hall if they want to move up.”
As they share goals about their college major and minor, Marquise said he came up with it first.
“He wanted to do digital design, but none of the colleges [offering football scholarships] had that,” he said of Marquan.
Amill is pleased that five of his players have scholarships after Chaney’s first season back.
“That’s a very big representation,” Amill said. “I honestly feel I had players who could play at the Division I level.”
He said switching schools was a factor in offers not materializing.
“Some guys had junior [season] films; some guys didn’t,” Amill said. “And to go Division I, a junior film plays a big part in the recruiting process. I think that hurt some of the guys, but for each of them to have at least six or seven Division II offers speaks highly of them as players and people.”