Over 200 years ago in our Country’s history there was a man poised to be a possible hero. Instead, General Benedict Arnold has become the household name for traitor. I am not going to turn this article into an American History lesson, but as we get closer to the kickoff of the season, and as the recruiting news keeps coming in almost daily, I take a look at three of Ohio’s all time Benedict Arnolds.
It’s no secret that Ohio State and that state north of Toledo have forged wars over the same territories. Most of the big time recruits in the Midwest are chased after by both schools. Not only does the recruiting get tough but also the recruits get tough. Recently Logan Tuley-Tillman infamously took to twitter and tweeted a picture burning his Ohio State offer letter. You don’t have to be a MENSA member to take a guess at what the fallout of that action was- Let’s just say that he will not be dotting the ‘I” ever. The worst part is that he is not even an Ohio native, he’s from Illinois!
Desmond Howard was born and raised in Cleveland, Oh and played his high school ball at St. Joseph High. A very accomplished athlete, Howard earned 3 varsity letters in track and football. There is no doubt about his athleticism but only doubt in his loyalty to his born state. Howard is famous for striking the Heisman pose against the Buckeyes in ’91. If you look real close at the photos you can almost see the red laser dots of thousands of wolverine hunters taking aim their prey.
Howard lives in infamy for his actions against his home state. When Desmond joined the team on Saturday morning to do College Game Day I almost threw up in my mouth. The old saying “if it’s not broke…why fix it “ kept coming to me. Kirk Herbstreit is the slick pretty boy and the “giggler”. Corso is the typecast wacko with a headwear fetish, off in left field, and most of the time makes no sense whatsoever. Every team needs one of these ( Kramer anyone??). Then you have Chris Fowler who is the mature voice of reason on the team and keeps everything together and moving forward. It was the perfect team. Until they let the bad guy in… I guess every team also needs a bad guy.
The best part of him joining the team is the fact that at least once a year when Game Day is in Columbus he gets booed. I don’t mean a distant, hardly hear it, “boo”; but a recognizable “boo” that almost drowns out the fact that he is trying to speak. What is even better than that is he doesn’t even have to say a word- when they mention his name in Columbus or just introduce him it starts. Desmond you may have gotten us all those years ago, and you flash that fake smile on television, but just know that you are still not welcome here.
Charles Woodson is the next to be recognized as a traitor. This one actually hurt. Unlike Desmond Howard, Woodson has been a perennial top tier player at every level he has been on.
He was born in Fremont Ohio and played his high school ball at Ross High School. His senior year he was named Ohio’s Mr. Football. He set school records in both points scored (466) and rushing yards (3861). Not only did he not stay in state to go to college, he also sold his soul. Apparently as great as an athlete that he is his decision making process is not on the same level. TTUN gave him the opportunity to start after his second game as a freshman. He then went on to start in 34 straight games as cornerback with a little sprinkle of wide receiver and punt returner.From there he was drafted in the first round and has gone on to win multiple awards and a Super Bowl.
Being recruited by a laundry list of schools it was almost pre-destined that he would go to TTUN. His half-brother began brainwashing Woodson at a young age, and didn’t stand a chance to go anywhere else. Woodson ended up being one of the biggest thorns in the Buckeyes side in recent memory.
This last one I actually have some personal stake in. Les Miles played his high school football in Elyria. While there he was an all-state football player and varsity letterman in baseball and wrestling as well. After college he played the coaching carousel game bouncing from different points all over the country as an assistant. He landed in LSU in 2005 and famously was given the moniker “The Mad Hatter” for way that he calls his plays in the most opportune times. We in Buckeye Nation should not be all that upset that he migrated out of here other than the fact that he did go to TTUN and beat OSU in the National Championship game in 2008.
I had the “pleasure” of living deep in the heart of LSU country during that dark time. Miles is a rock star in Louisiana. Wherever he goes people are salivating at the chance to see the coach.
In 2006 Miles was attending a football camp there that was put on for the youth football players. I happened to be attending that camp and there were some local college and high school coaches that were there to volunteer their wisdom. One of those coaches was fellow college teammate donned in his schools colors. My son at the time was 7 years old and very impressionable. He had on his Ted Ginn jersey and I managed to talk him into walking up to the coach and giving him the “Go Bucks”. I sat back and laughed as I saw a 50 something year old man completely ignore a 7 year old boy at a youth football camp. I shouldn’t have been surprised.
In 2010 while attending a high school football game at my local high school, Les Miles showed up with his entourage to recruit one of the players. I saw a man walk in the gate with a cameraman and a Sheriff following him. It did not take long before the “buzz” started to spread around the stadium that Les Miles was in the house. He watched the game, went into the locker room at half time and came back out onto the field before play resumed. This was my time to strike. I was within spitting distance of him. He was all alone waving at people and looking around the stadium.
Me: “Hey Les.”
He turned around and looked at me smiling. I expect that he was anticipating a “Go Tigers” or something like that. Instead……
Me: “Go Bucks!”
As I said it, I made direct eye contact. My chest swelled with pride. It was like a cobra and a mongoose meeting in the pit.
The smile on his face went away quickly. And this look of disgust took over his face. It was like I could read what was on his mind. He was completely unprepared for it. I had caught him off guard and off his game. He didn’t respond nor could he. It was the same look we have seen from him on many occasions on the sideline. The look of “Where am I? I think I may be at a football game. Wait, I may even be the coach”. Complete bewilderment.
I like to think to this day that he remembers that moment. That in times when he is alone with his thoughts; that my words sting him to his core.
Being 1000 miles away from Buckeye country is not enough.
There is no end to Buckeye Country.