Growing up is a part of getting through high school and selecting a college, but the process really hit home for Josh Marriner over the weekend. The Chesapeake (Va.) Western Branch running back took an official visit to Connecticut, a school that has already offered him a scholarship, and the trip meant a lot to him.
"It was better than I expected, I enjoyed myself," he said of his first trip to the Big East school. "That was the first surprising thing, being on an airplane. I felt like I was growing up and it's a new process in my life. That, getting taken around campus and meeting the recruits...it was nice.
"They gained a lot more interest from me truthfully. A lot more. "
Marriner bonded with fellow Husky targets before they took in Saturday's game against North Carolina State, something that made him think of playing with some of them next season.
"If I were to be on that team with them, we would get along well," Marriner admitted. "As far as winning, we would a lot. All of us have something different to bring to the table."
After the recruits got to know each other, the group separated and got down to business for the rest of the day.
"We went to the game, watched them play," he said. "Then after the game, we went out to eat with coach [Darrell] Perkins and coach Clayton [White], the running backs coach. Also, Reuben Frank, the starting fullback came and he was my host for the rest of the day."
"He showed me the campus and the college life," he continued. "I got to hang out with two of their starting linebackers, Yawin [Smallwood] and No. 3 [Sio Moore]. I met some of the other players and Reuben took me around the dorms and introduced me to some people he hangs out with."
That life is something Marriner will have to decide upon sooner than later, and the trip up north helped him realize certain things – including one sense of familiarity that created a memorable feel for the 5-foot-10, 188-pound back.
"The biggest thing was that they allowed me to be in their team meetings," he recalled. "Just sitting there, seeing how they prepared after a loss and for the next game – to get over it – to see what else they did wrong. That stuck out to me because I started doing that at my high school now.
"It reminded me of it a lot and it showed me how organized they are and that the coaches are really serious about what they're doing."
After the solid trip, the Huskies made a big jump within the senior's short list of schools.
"UConn and ODU (Old Dominion) are my top two schools right now," said Marriner. "Other schools might hop into the mix later on in the season. I'm sending my tape out to Wake Forest and some other schools, but we'll see how that goes. "
The official with UConn could also remain big considering he has no other trips scheduled at this time although he intends to schedule them all.
"I want to take all five, to see what opportunities pop up," he said. "I'm going to use all of them."
Marriner has also been using his blockers on the field. Through two games at Western Branch this season, he leads the region with 406 yards on the ground to go along with five touchdowns.
FOX Sports NEXT will continue to track Marriner and the rest of the Class of 2013 through National Signing Day on February 6.