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Herron turned negative into positive

Redemption results in draft selection

April 30, 2012
By ED PUSKAS - Tribune Chronicle Sports Editor (epuskas@tribtoday.com) , Tribune Chronicle | TribToday.com

The Cincinnati Bengals will be pleased with their selection of Warren G. Harding High School and Ohio State product Dan "Boom" Herron.

The Bengals took Herron in the sixth round with the 191st pick of the draft.

Herron felt - and I agree - that he should have been drafted higher, but when the call came Saturday, he was grateful.

"It was a little long wait, but I think God has a plan for me," Herron said. "I'm just very happy to be a Bengal now."

Herron's draft stock fell in the wake of two separate suspensions during his senior season. He played in just seven games in 2011, but was productive and finished with 675 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught eight passes.

Herron finished his college career with 2,946 yards and 32 touchdowns for Ohio State. He also caught 44 passes and had one receiving touchdown.

But the player known as Boom meant more to Ohio State in a trying 2011 season - and even before that - than the numbers show.

There was a reason Herron's teammates voted him the Buckeyes' MVP after the season and interim coach Luke Fickell named him a captain for the Wisconsin game.

Yes, Herron was one of the players involved in Ohio State's tattoos-and-memorabilia scandal. He was suspended for the Buckeyes' first five games. He also was suspended for another game for being overpaid for a summer job.

Herron knew he'd made mistakes and while he sat out those games as his penalty, he displayed the same kind of quiet leadership he'd been known for before the scandal.

Herron was contrite upon his return and it showed. The way he handled himself - both behind the scenes and on the field when he returned - helped him regain the respect of many fans.

But his teammates and the Ohio State coaching staff saw that side of him all along.?Herron never stopped working, even though he knew he was going to miss the first five games of his senior season. He ended up sitting out another game, but stayed positive, showed leadership off the field and helped his teammates even as he sat out half the season.

That's why Fickell made Herron a captain against Wisconsin, even when he knew he'd be roundly criticized for doing so. And that's why the Buckeyes voted the tailback their MVP after the regular season. They, too, were ripped for it.

Herron probably could have left Ohio State after the 2010 season and found himself in a much better position in the 2011 draft than he ultimately did this year. He had rushed for 1,155 yards, averaged 5.3 yards per carry and scored 16 touchdowns as a junior.

Herron's stock would never be higher, and deep down he probably knew it. But he didn't cut and run, and in the months that followed, Herron did what he could to repair his image and help the Buckeyes.

If a feel-good story could come from Ohio State's 6-7 season, Herron's redemption was it.

epuskas@tribtoday.com

 
 
 

 

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