Reunited, again

Cody Francis

Former KSU football players in Super Bowl.

Ten miles separate Riverdale Maryland’s Parkdale High School from Upper Marlboro Maryland’s Largo High School. The same 10 miles separated Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle Daniel Muir and New Orleans Saints defensive back Usama Young when they played high school football in the Greater Washington D.C. area. Since their days in the Prince George’s County 4A league together, Muir and Young haven’t been able to stay away from each other.

Both would eventually be recruited by Kent State, where both were immediate impact players in their early college careers. For a brief time, the two were even roommates. Both left Kent State in 2007 and pursued NFL careers.

Three years later, Muir and Young find themselves in the same place once again. This time on one of the biggest stages in sports — Super Bowl XLIV.

Although Muir and Young will both be in South Florida this Sunday, each has traveled down a different road to get to where they are today.

He garnered a lot of attention from the pro scouts his senior season when he was named the national defensive player of the week by the Football Writers Association of America after the Flashes defeated Central Florida. He was later named to the All-Mid-American Conference second team. Young saw his pro stock rise even more after he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash before the draft.

Young was eventually drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the second pick in the third round, becoming the first Kent State defensive back to be drafted since 1976.

Young’s success however came at a price. Kent State junior free safety Brian Lainhart, a freshman when Young was a senior, said he remembers the sacrifices Young would make to better himself.

“The hard work’s the thing that really stood out to me,” Lainhart said. “The time he put in, you know, working at eight o’clock at night while everybody else was at the movies or playing cards or doing something in the summertime, he’s working and watching film.”

Lainhart said as soon as he met Young, he knew he had the potential to do big things.

“I knew he would make it to (the NFL),” Lainhart said. “When I came to Kent, he really stood out to me and I asked coach who he was and he told me, so I kind of always had expectations like, ‘this is a stud,’ and I saw how hard he worked and the time he put in. You could just tell he had what it takes to get to that next level, he’s a gifted athlete, hard worker, a great guy — a humble guy — and that always makes it better.”

In Young’s three seasons with the Saints, he has recorded 83 career tackles and three interceptions while starting three times in 41 career games.

Even though Young is about to perform on the biggest stage in sports, he doesn’t forget where he came from. On January 25, the day after the Saints’ NFC Championship win against the Minnesota Vikings, Young put this on his Twitter account: Congrats NO… Time to go to Miami baby. Thanks for all the support! Who dat!!!!!!…. Largo reppin!!!

Contact sports editor

Cody Francis at [email protected].