At least five seniors are being recruited by Division I programs.
By JOE SCALZO
VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF
YOUNGSTOWN -- Kyle McCarthy walked onto the practice field at Cardinal Mooney High School on Thursday as this year's Cardinals gathered for a group photo.
One of the players recognized him and shouted out, "Kyle, we love you!"
"This is special," he said. "It just shows what Mooney's all about. I have a lot of good memories."
McCarthy, who helped lead the Cardinals to last year's Division IV state title, was home for a few days from football practice at Notre Dame.
It's never easy to replace a Division I player. Fortunately for Mooney, they've got replacements.
Senior cornerback Desmond Marrow gave a verbal commitment to Miami (Ohio) last week, choosing to get the recruiting process out of the way before the season starts.
Practice begins Monday.
Marrow is one of at least five Cardinals getting looks from Division I colleges, joining defensive back Nate Burney (an all-state player last year), linemen George Clark and Colin Chambers, and quarterback Derrell Johnson, a transfer from Campell who will replace McCarthy this season.
"I like the program and I like the stuff they're doing," Marrow said of Miami. "Their system fits me well."
Marrow, who plans to major in communications, also got offers from Toledo and Akron and was getting looks from Ohio State and West Virginia. But the 6-foot-2, 185-pound player didn't want to wait.
"It feels good because now I don't have to worry about that stuff," Marrow, who also plays wide receiver, said. "Now I can just focus on my senior year."
That's good news for Mooney, which must replace several key starters from last year's team. McCarthy leaves the biggest hole, but he's confident Johnson will fill in nicely.
"I've talked to him a few times and he's a good kid," McCarthy said of Johnson. "He has his head on straight and he's got all the ability in the world. He just needs to showcase his skills."
McCarthy plans to do just that at Notre Dame, where he will play defensive back. He's already enrolled and returned home after taking a final in one of his classes.
"Everything's going good," he said. "I've done a lot of work and it's paid off so far."