IOWA CITY — We who cover college sports love to lean on the storylines of players going home to play in front of their families and friends, showing everyone there what they’ve become and all that.
OK, so Iowa defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore and defensive end Chauncey Golston are going home to Michigan this week when the Hawkeyes play the Wolverines in Ann Arbor, about 40 miles from their homes. They are full of emotion about their one and only chance to play in Michigan Stadium against the team they heard so much about all their lives, right?
“It’ll be all right,” senior Lattimore said Saturday after Iowa’s 48-3 win over Middle Tennessee, a game in which he made it four straight years of notching at least one quarterback sack.
“It’s another stadium,” said Golston, a fourth-year junior. “That’s how I’m approaching the game. That’s how I approach every game. I don’t want to put this higher than another game. You get the same preparation that everyone else gets.”
The two are starters for a unit that ranks third nationally in scoring defense (8.5 points per game) and fifth in total defense (251 yards per game). What does a defense like that need to improve?
“Everything,” Golston said emphatically.
Now, both said they’re looking forward to getting the chance to play in front of their families, more family members than usual. But Michigan football itself never really grabbed a foothold in the consciousness of either player.
“It didn’t,” Lattimore said. “I didn’t really look toward Michigan, and Michigan didn’t look toward me.
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“I was more into basketball. I didn’t know I was going to be Division I football. My main sport was basketball.”
“I wasn’t big into college football,” said Golston. “The only team that I did look into was Oregon, so that doesn’t count.”
So let’s just assume neither spent much time shouting “Go Blue!” growing up in metro Detroit. The two have a lot more in common than a lack of boyhood interest in the Wolverines.
First, they were teammates at East English Village Preparatory Academy in Detroit. That school sent cornerback Desmond King to Iowa ahead of Golston and Lattimore. King, an All-American at Iowa, had his football jersey number retired at East English Village last year.
The old Iowa recruiting story applied to all three. Despite setting the Michigan high school record for career interceptions (29), King had no offers from other Big Ten schools and originally made a verbal commitment to Ball State. Lattimore had offers from Ball State and other Mid-American Conference programs. Iowa was the first school to get in on recruiting Golston.
Golston and Lattimore were classmates and defensive ends at East English Village. They were in the 2016 Iowa recruiting class that included stalwart offensive tackle Alaric Jackson of Detroit. Another Detroit-area Hawkeye starter, senior cornerback Michael Ojemudia, arrived a year earlier. Lattimore had 17 sacks his senior season, Golston 11.5.
Lattimore said he and Golston even have the same middle name, Dwayne. And, they were born four days apart in February 1998.
“That’s a crazy one right there,” Golston said.
Want something else a little crazy? Golston and Lattimore were called “The Twin Towers” in high school. This summer, a $57 million, 15-story building in downtown Iowa City opened, and 15 stories definitely qualifies as a tower here. It’s called The Chauncey.
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“A lot of people have sent me pictures of that building,” Golston said. “It’s by a barbershop I go to, so I see it a lot.”
The Chauncey and The Cedrick are going home Saturday. To hear them tell it, it’s just another game. Nonetheless, wouldn’t a win for the Hawkeyes be ... towering?
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