Marquez Herrod: His Story

The most intriguing prospect in the 2006 recruiting class is Escondido (San Pasqual) defensive end prospect, Marquez Herrod. The amazing thing about the new CU ball player is not his prowess on the football field, it is his life story. He is a foster child that has been in and out of foster homes, group homes, shelters, and was even homeless for almost two years. He escaped death in a horrible accident and was physically beaten at a young age. This is his story.

Marquez Herrod was a late addition to Colorado's 2006 football recruiting class. He was originally committed to Oregon State after a trip to Corvallis in early/mid December. The Buffs had interest in the prospect early on, but according to him, the attention just ceased out of nowhere one day. "Coach (Gary) Barnett had been recruiting me and he seemed real interested," Herrod explained. "I really liked Colorado but then one day they just stopped contacting me and I never got a reason why or figured out what happened. I was a little disappointed because I really liked them, but I had plenty of other options so I didn't dwell on it."

The 6-foot-2 ½, 235-pound defensive end had written offers from Boise State, Arizona, Fresno State, Washington, Utah, UTEP, Oregon State, Nevada, UNLV, and Colorado. "I had a bunch of verbal offers, too, and some schools told me they would offer if I visited."

He went on official visits to Fresno State, Utah, and then Oregon State. He was sold on the Beavers after his voyage there. "I really liked the staff, the atmosphere, the coaches, and the fan support. The staff seemed like they had legit, genuine interest in me. I also loved their academic support. They have a program up there called the ‘academic gameplan'. It is a great support system for their student-athletes and I was sold on it."

Herrod being completely sold on taking his services to Corvallis changed with one text message from the new CU staff. "I had spoken with the Boise State staff while they were still in Boise and they really liked me. But I told them straight-up after a while that I wasn't interested and they didn't need to bother contacting me anymore. I wanted to play at a bigger school. Coach (Kent) Riddle had been recruiting me there. After they became the new staff at Colorado, Coach Riddle sent me a text message and asked if I would have any interest in taking a visit to Colorado. I told him ‘yeah' and decided to take a trip there. It was a different opportunity for me, I had interest in Colorado before, and I wanted to explore my options. So I took a trip and the rest is history."

As much as the future Buff was sold on OSU after he tripped there, nothing could compare to his experience in Boulder on the official visit, January 13th. The trip took place almost a month after his commitment to OSU. "I loved the town and the people. Everyone really seems to care about each other at Colorado. All of the coaches are real funny and real cool. I really liked the fact that the coaches had their wives in their offices with them. That is the exact kind of family environment I am looking for. All of the players on the team are real relaxed and Colorado also has great facilities. They have a computer lab on site for the players. The strength and conditioning coach from the Jacksonville Jaguars (Greg Finnegan) really knows his stuff and he is someone you want to work with. I knew that Colorado was where I wanted to be so I committed."

Just like with co-class member Michael Sipili, also a former Oregon State commitment, the Beaver coaches did not go away quietly after Herrod relayed to them that he was going to be a Buff. "They were at my house the next day. The coach that recruited my area and the defensive coordinator came. Then soon after they came, the coach that would have been my position coach came. A week after that, the position coach and the defensive coordinator came again. They did three in-home visits with me within a two week span. The last one was last Friday."

Herrod was very confused on what his final decision was going to be for a while. "The Oregon State coaches were blitzing my head from all angles. They came to my house and showed me statistics on the weather in Boulder, the cost of living there, and they also brought me a depth chart of Colorado's defensive end players. They showed me a chart that said CU had eight players at my position and then they showed me their depth chart at d-end. They had two players on the first page, when they flipped the page, the second page was blank. So I was worried and I called Coach Riddle at CU after that to ask him if they really had eight players at my position because I want to come in and play early. I do not want to red-shirt. I left Coach Riddle a message but he never responded and let me know about CU's depth chart. But, when I was up there, they told me about it, and I don't remember it being that many players at the spot. So I kind of thought that them having eight players on the depth chart was bull. So after I thought about it some more, I knew that the situation for playing time was fine for me at CU."

The Buffs' staff did two-in home visits with Herrod after Coach Riddle originally contacted him and asked if he was interested in coming to Boulder. "Coach Riddle came to my house once and Coach Riddle and (Romeo) Bandison came to my house the other time. I really like Coach Bandison. He is from the Netherlands and is a real funny guy. He is absolutely huge. He is like 6-6 and he looks exactly like that guy from The Green Mile (Michael Clark Duncan). He looks very mean and intimidating but he is not like that at all. He is real cool and he likes Ice Skating which was funny to know. I look forward to learning from him."

Marquez Herrod's whole life has been a learning process. He was forced to grow up at a very young age and is mature and wise far beyond his years. Herrod just turned 17 on January 9th.

He has overcome more adversity in his 17 years than most people could in numerous life times. When he was three months old, his father left he and his mother to go on a trip to the state of Washington and never returned, nor contacted the two ever again. To this day, he has no idea who his father is. He is not even sure of his background. "I am half African-American and either half Samoan or Puerto Rican. I am not sure because I don't know where my dad is from."

Although he did not know any better at that young of an age, Herrod vividly remembers the events that began taking place in his life at the age of four. "When I was four years old my mom and I were in a bad car accident. We were taking a left turn on a green arrow in an intersection when we were hit by a Gas Semi. It tore the front part of our car off. I was in the back without a seat belt on and a bunch of glass hit my chest and I have a huge scar there because of it. We were lucky that the Gas Semi didn't have any gas in it, or else I might not be here. My mom has been disabled ever since that accident and has been collecting social security.

"Over the next two years, my mom started becoming real nervous and paranoid. My step dad was beating me all the time and then one day, he threw me down a staircase and hurt me real bad. This is when I was six years old. When my mom got home that day, I told her about it and we left our home and went to live on the streets. He supported us so after we left, we had no money and my mom couldn't work because of the accident. Over the next two years we were homeless. We stayed in shelters and slept in bus stations. We had absolutely nothing; no food, no family, no friends, no place to stay and no money."

After almost two years on the streets, the barrage of halfway houses, numerous schools and foster homes began. "When I was almost eight, my mom and I were in a shelter and she had been clinically diagnosed with Schizophrenia. She was always telling me that someone was coming to get us, we were being watched and she was always scared. I had to remind her that everything was okay and that no one was after us. I was like her parent instead of the other way around. She had an episode one day and a woman in the shelter with us called the cops and they came and put her in a mental facility and took me away. I was put in the Polinsky Center in San Diego (a foster child shelter) and I was there for eight months until they found me a home. They put me with this lady that was real messed up. It was me and another kid and she was not feeding us with the money she was getting for having us. We were only there for two or three months before they took us back to the Polinsky Center.

"I was there for another few months until I was put with this real rich, rich black lady. It was me and five other kids. We lived in a 5,000 square foot home but me and the other kids only had two rooms for all of us. She put us in the very back of the house and we had two rooms. Each room had three kids in it. The room I was in, the two older kids slept on the bed and I slept on the floor. That went on for about four months. In the meantime, she was going to the Casino all the time and spending all the money she received for having us. She gave us each 10 dollars a month for food and there was no food in the house - never any food in the house. So we had to find a way to eat. She told us we could make more money by working on the pool and spa in the backyard that had been messed up by an earthquake. She had us all out there for a long time working on this pool and spa that were both green with slime and grime and it was disgusting. We were out there breaking off the rotted tile and tearing off the rotted walls. She never paid us for the work like she said she would. After being with her for four months me and Roger (a boy Herrod had been in and out of foster homes and shelters with) ratted on the woman when the social worker came to visit us. We were just sick of not eating and being mis-treated. So they took him and I away from there and then I was placed in a group home called Mi Casa.

"That place was disgusting and dirty. There were no parents there so it was nothing but staff that worked there. I was there for a long time until I started high school at Mira Mesa. I was at Mira Mesa for a tiny bit until I was placed in another home and then I moved back to Escondido.

"The man I was placed with sold his house right after I moved in with him. It was me and two other foster kids at the time. The next place we moved into, we were kicked out of pretty soon after because he wasn't paying the rent. Then we lost the two other kids and it was just him and I and we moved into a room together. He rented a room for us. We got kicked out of there a little while after because he didn't pay the rent there, either. After that, we got into another house and another kid came and lived with us. We got kicked out of there, too, because he couldn't pay the rent. This all pretty much happened through my high school years. I lived at four different places in Escondido within a couple years.

"From there, I did not go back to the Polinsky Center or Mi Casa. The head coach at my school (San Pasqual) took over and he received legal guardianship of me. I lived with him for about a week. He spoke with a couple from his church that couldn't have children on their own, and they said they would like to have me. So I have been living with them for a little over the past two months - ever since December 14th."

Herrod figures he was placed in around 20 different Elementary schools and four Junior High Schools all together. He still stays in close contact with his mother. "She received 600 dollars a month from social security. She pays 450 dollars a month for rent, 50 dollars for a phone so her and I can talk, and then she has 50 dollars left for food."

With a tumultuous background now firmly placed behind him, Herrod is certain of his future aspirations. "The main thing I want to do at Colorado is get a degree. That is the No.1 thing I plan on doing there. If I do not make it to the NFL, that will be there for me. My second goal is to go to the NFL."

Despite seeing nothing but horrible acts towards him in his upbringing, Marquez Herrod is determined to have children of his own one day and show them a righteous existence. "I definitely want to have kids some day and be able to give them all the things I never had."

In deciding to place his college career at Colorado, a scholarship to Oregon State was not the only thing Herrod left behind. "My girlfriend dumped me when I told her I was moving to Colorado this summer. The way I figure it is, if she was going to dump me for that, it would of never lasted anyway."

Colorado is also getting a track star at the defensive end spot. Herrod competes in the 200, 400, 4X100, and 4X400. His best 200 time is 22.9 seconds and his best 400 time is 49.8 seconds.

The future Buff will have no problem at getting into CU as he is already fully qualified with a 2.55 core GPA and a score of 930 on the SAT. He would like to major in Business Management.

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