October 19, 2011

Marcus Henry has a what?

October 19, 2011
Rose Mary Phillip

Eskimo wide receiver Marcus Henry had the same teammate from birth through college: his twin brother Maurice.

These boys are not typical twins.

On one hand, you have Marcus who stands six-foot-four and 210 pounds. And then there’s Maurice who is five-foot-eight and 175 pounds. The size discrepancy is really no surprise considering Marcus is three minutes older and measured an inch longer at birth.

“In high school, they called me Big Henry and him Little Henry,” says Marcus of their days at Eisenhower High in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Like many parents of multiples, Gregory and Rhonda Henry dressed their boys in the same clothes. Given that they were born in 1986, that may have meant matching hammer pants or mini Miami Vice jackets. At least, we hope it did.

“Once we got older and started picking out our own clothes – never again,” says Marcus.

Height and wardrobe aside, the fraternal twins are pretty much identical in personality. Both athletic. Both quiet. Marcus so much so that he earned the nickname Mute.

Throughout school they were put in different classes. It’s a strategy recommended by experts to foster individual personalities. Still, they shared friends, sports teams and interests.

When Marcus injured his knee, Maurice felt it. It’s that twin thing. They don’t finish each other’s sentences and can’t sense the other’s emotions, but every so often, it kicks in. Although, so far, it’s been a one-way experience.

If you have ever longed for a twin sibling, it was probably, in part, for the prank appeal. Marcus and Maurice never took interest. “People tell us that we sound alike on the phone. So, we could probably do a prank like that but we haven’t,” says Marcus. Nada. Nothing. Admittedly, boring.

Their energy was reserved for sports.

Marcus earned nine letters in football, basketball and track. Maurice earned four in football and track. He played basketball too but put down the rock before high school. It’s probably for the better. “We’re really competitive and we always used to [fist] fight after we play. I don’t know what it was over,” says Marcus who has a clear size advantage.

Marcus and his twin brother, Maurice, after their Orange Bowl victory with Kansas in 2008.

“I’d say the fights were a tie. He’d probably say he won.”

Regardless, the twins were close and planned to pursue higher education together.

“I originally signed to the same junior college he did. Right before I went, [University of] Kansas called me and wanted to sign me so I went there. After he finished at his junior college he went to Kansas,” says Marcus.

The siblings majored in psychology as they played for the Jayhawks. Together, they were part of the team that broke into the 2008 rankings of the top 25 college football teams in the United States for the first time in over a decade.

That same year, they reached another football milestone together when the eighth-ranked Jayhawks defeated thethird-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies 24 – 21 to win the Orange Bowl. It was the first time the Jayhawks had been to the bowl since 1969.

Marcus once said the best part of playing at Kansas was the school tradition. When he signed to the Eskimos, he joined a team rich in green and gold tradition. A win on Friday in Toronto will move them one step closer to one of their greatest traditions: winning the Grey Cup. Tune in at 4:30 p.m.