Thomson High School senior Ethan Brown, Monday morning, signed his letter of intent to play football at St. Andrews University.
As Thomson Head Coach Michael Youngblood addressed those gathered to witness the signing, he explained a choice Brown and his family had made prior to the start of the season.
The offensive guard had injured his shoulder and had to choose between surgery and missing his senior year or playing with the pain and delaying the surgery until after the season.
“I totally left that decision to the parents and to Ethan. Because as head football coach, that’s not my call,” said Youngblood.
“To me, Ethan will always be a Thomson Bulldog and what the T stands for. He could have easily said ‘you know what, I’m going to have surgery and I’m not going to play’,” said Youngblood. “But, he played through pain every day. And that’s a testament to his ability to push through pain. It’s a testament to his ability to want to make it to this situation that stands before him. I cannot wait to see him fully healed and have the opportunity to step on the field on Saturdays and play college football.”
The coach talked about how players have to love what they do.
“There is no question in my mind that Ethan loves what he does and he will be successful,” Youngblood added.
Brown played guard on the Thomson offensive line, and had injured himself at one of the camps.
Youngblood said words are put around what the T represents, such as tenacity and toughness. He said following the signing that both of those words describe Brown.
In looking back on Brown’s senior year, Youngblood recalls one play in the playbook and the senior guard’s ability to block.
“He would pull and kick and then he had several and then he had several knock-down blocks when he was pulling and kicking,” the coach said. “That is what I will remember about him is how he finished blocks. Once he locked onto you, you were in trouble trying to get off him. That is what you want from your offensive linemen.”
Youngblood said the smaller college setting will give Brown the chance to play right away and he expects him to do well. St. Andrews University plays in NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Mid-South Conference. The university is located in Laurinburg, N.C.