By Dennis Waszak Jr.
AP Sports Writer
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Kyle Schwarber’s big-time World Series impact for the Chicago Cubs is no surprise to New York Jets wide receiver Jalin Marshall.
The two were football teammates at Middletown High School in Middletown, Ohio, with Schwarber a hard-hitting linebacker while also serving as a power-hitting slugger for the baseball team.
“He was a bad man,” a smiling Marshall said in the Jets’ locker room Thursday. “He used to always do the craziest stuff. He was one of those guys that, no matter what happened, he was going to do what he could to make the team win. It seems like that’s what he’s doing now and it’s working out for him.”
He can say that again.
Schwarber tore the anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments in his left knee in April while playing the outfield for the Cubs. He was thought to be sidelined for the year but returned in time to play in the World Series. He doubled in Game 1 against the Cleveland Indians as a designated hitter, becoming the first major league position player to get his first hit of the season during the World Series. Schwarber drove in two runs in Game 2, and the Cubs were waiting to see if he’d be cleared to play the outfield so they can keep his bat in the lineup during Games 3-5 in Chicago.
A reporter for a Dayton-area newspaper tweeted a photo Thursday of Schwarber and Marshall from their high school playing days, posing with their backs against each other.
“It feels like it was just yesterday,” Marshall said. “I can still hear him hitting the ball all the way from the football complex. He’s always been like this. Our last football game playing together was against Braxton Miller and we didn’t win, but we were pretty good that year.”
Miller, now a wide receiver for the Houston Texans, was the quarterback of the Huber Heights Wayne team that beat Schwarber, Marshall and the previously undefeated Middies, 21-0 on Nov. 6, 2010.
Schwarber went on to play baseball at Indiana University and was the fourth overall pick in the 2014 draft. Marshall was signed by the Jets as an undrafted free agent out of Ohio State this spring and serves as New York’s primary kick returner.
“Kyle was a big mentor to me growing up,” Marshall said. “We stay in touch and have a pretty good relationship. We have some close mutual and family friends. I always wish the best for him and I hope he keeps doing well.”