Lowering The 'Boom'

Warren Harding running back Daniel "Boom" Herron is following in Maurice Clarett's footsteps to Ohio State. Buckeye fans hope he has a similar work ethic, but steers clear of bad decisions. Herron receives rave reviews from Harding head coach Thom McDaniels, a man who is not afraid to speak the truth. Click here for more.

There was much debate as to whether Ohio State would take a second running back in its 2007 recruiting class after Piqua's Brandon Saine committed to the Buckeyes earlier this year.

But those questions were answered with a loud Boom last week.

Daniel "Boom" Herron from Warren Harding accepted OSU's scholarship offer and became the fifth member of the Buckeyes' 2007 bumper crop.

"Ohio State is just a great school and there's so many great things you can say about it," Herron said. "I wanted to stay in Ohio and play football in Ohio. It really came down to Ohio State and Michigan and it really came down to the last minute and I picked Ohio State. … It was a pretty close call. But when it came down to it, Ohio State is just great. I was down there last Thursday, me, my mom and my dad and we had time with coach Luke Fickell. They showed us the academic side and everything was great and I liked it a lot."

There might not be a better nickname for a running back than "Boom." It was given to him at a young age and it stuck.

"People started calling me that when I was in little league football because I used to run people over," Herron said. "People would say, ‘He's just booming people,' so people just started calling me Boom. And then my uncles caught on and started calling me Boom, so I just stayed with it."

Herron ran a lot of defenders over as a junior in 2005 as well. Harding had a down year with a 3-7 record, but Herron (5-10, 195, 4.55) racked up 1,523 yards and 16 touchdowns on 207 carries (7.4 ypc).

Herron knew he would get some Division I scholarship offers after his big junior year, but he wasn't exactly sure if the big schools would come knocking.

"I just knew I needed to get out to camps and let people really see me," he said. "I wasn't worried about the recruiting right now – I mean, I was worried about it, but I was just thinking about my season. Coming out I just said I'm going to go to these camps and show people who I am and what I can do. When I went to camps, that's when I got my offers. Well, my two biggest offers: Michigan and Ohio State. But, before that, I had offers from Illinois, Indiana, Boston College, Akron, local schools like that. But still, I wanted to show people what I could do at the camp."

Harron was elated when he received the offer from OSU head coach Jim Tressel.

"Oh, honestly, I was so excited," he said. "It was like a dream. It was crazy because I worked out and (Harding head coach Thom McDaniels) told me to keep my phone on. Probably an hour later I got a text message from Coach Tressel telling me I had a scholarship from Ohio State. Man, it was very exciting. I didn't know what to say."

One thing we know for sure about Herron is that he is a young man who is not afraid of competition. The Buckeyes signed the nation's top recruit in 2006 – running back Chris Wells – and already have Saine in the fold as well. (Some feel that Saine will play wide receiver in college, but his body-type at 6-1, 210 pounds seems better suited for running back.)

"Yeah, I expect all the running backs at Ohio State to be good," Herron said. "Coach Tressel told me, he said, ‘The best back is going to play.' So in my head I'm just going to say, ‘Hey, I'm here and I'm going to work my butt off and learn everything and hopefully get on the field.' It's all about hard work and I'm a hard worker. I'm not saying that I'm just going to go in there and get on the field, but I'm going to work by butt off to get on the field."

One person who won't be surprised if Herron makes a big impact at Ohio State is McDaniels. He is a straight-shooter that doesn't sugarcoat anything, but he is not afraid to talk-up Herron.

"I wouldn't trade him for any back in the state," McDaniels said. "He's tough, coachable and productive. I can't say enough good things about Daniel Herron."

The feelings go both ways. Herron very much enjoys playing for his coach.

"Coach McDaniels is a great coach and a great guy," he said. "He's coached so many great athletes and I'm just proud to be a part of his coaching career. There's so many good things about Coach McD. He's not just a person who wants you to be great on the field. He wants you to be a great person off the field and have good character. That's the big thing. Also, he teaches us to be a leader. Those are the three biggest things in your life: You always have to have good character, be a leader and of course he wants you to be a ballplayer. So I give all respect to Coach McD. He's a great coach and I love playing for him."

The last big-time running back to come out of Harding was of course Maurice Clarett, who helped lead Ohio State to the 2002 national championship, and then began a downward spiral. Herron is probably tired of hearing about it, but he gave his take on the Clarett situation.

"Oh, Reece is a great guy," he said. "I grew up around him; he played with my brother. He's a great guy to me. He had the best work-ethic. He's a hard worker. If anything, I want to be just like him as far as the work-ethic. There's so many great things you can say about Reece."

Herron is a respectful young man. He was asked what he has learned from watching Clarett's downfall (i.e. not making the same mistakes) but he wasn't going to say anything negative about one of his boyhood idols.

"I really don't get into that," Herron said. "I kind of stay away from that. I know Reece is a great guy and what happened, that's between him and everybody else. I'll just stay out of that. The Reece I know is a great guy and I look up to him on and off the field as far as his work ethic because he was great football player… still is a great football player. I think if he gets a chance to get on the field, it ain't going to be nice. That's all I can say. It ain't going to be nice."

Unlike Clarett four years ago, Herron will not graduate high school early so he can participate in spring ball.

"No, I'm going to graduate with the rest of my senior class," he said. "I was going to do it, but I decided to just graduate with my class."

Herron is already looking forward to playing for Tressel, who is quickly establishing himself as a living legend with five national championships (four at I-AA Youngstown State).

"It's going to be great," Herron said. "Just like Coach McD, Coach Tressel is a great coach and he even coached my high school running back coach when he was at Youngstown State and he's telling me about Coach Tressel all the time. He's a great guy and he's brought Ohio State all the way back up to the top. When he was at YSU, he took them to the top. He's another coach that doesn't just coach football, he coaches character, leadership and is a great guy on and off the field."

Herron says he plans on calling other top prospects to try and talk them into joining him at Ohio State.

"Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Have to," he said.

Herron is ranked as the No. 20 overall prospect in the state by Ohio High magazine, and the No. 21 running back in the nation by Scout.com.

* For more on Herron, tune in to the Bucknuts Radio Hour.

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