Wednesday, Feb. 5 might have been just another winter day for most people.
For Washington High School senior Collier Brown, it marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life.
Brown announced by signing a letter of intent that he will be attending the University of Akron, where he will continue his education and his football career as a member of the Zips.
The Zips are a Division I team playing in the Mid-American Conference.
The MAC, to which it is often referred, includes schools such as Ohio University, Miami of Ohio, Bowling Green, Toledo, Kent State, Ball State, Northern Illinois and three schools in Michigan.
“I was talking to a few other schools,” Brown said. “I actually received a full-ride offer from Urbana. They are a Division II program.
“It was definitely a hard decision for me to make,” Brown said. “I took a visit and I felt at home at Akron. I spoke to all of the coaches. Coach (Matt) Feeney (an assistant coach who is the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach), he’s been recruiting me since I was a junior. He offered me a walk-on spot at Akron.
“I looked at the facilities, the campus, everything was just top-notch, state of the art,” Brown said. “I know academic-wise, they have some of the finest programs in the world. They play some of the top teams. They’re going to play Ohio State (at Columbus, Sept. 21, 2021), Clemson (at Clemson, Sept. 19, 2020). It would be my sophomore year they play at the Horseshoe.
“There were other places I could have walked on,” Brown said. “Obviously, the opportunity to play football from a younger age would be at Akron. I felt I could really earn a spot there. It’s not all about football. It’s about getting an education, too. The head coach at Akron, Tom Arth, he has so many connections, you’re almost guaranteed to get a job soon after graduation.
“My major is going to be nursing,” Brown said. “I’m going to study C.R.N.A. (certified registered nurse anesthetist) to be an anesthesiologist. That’s my plan.”
Brown was asked about his favorite class in high school.
“I’d have to say the business class,” Brown said. “I’ve been in the business class for four years with Mr. (David) Penwell. It’s usually for kids that are in DECA, but athletes sometimes don’t do the DECA program. It’s definitely been one of the best courses I’ve taken throughout high school. It’s really prepared me for the real world.”
As far as a favorite moment, any time you can beat your closest rivals, it’s a memorable moment.
“Probably that final play of this year’s Trace game,” Brown said. “When we sealed the deal (with the Panthers driving to tie the game, Brown’s teammate, Garitt Leisure, intercepted a pass to secure the 40-33 victory for the Blue Lions). That’s just one of the best ways to end a career, I think.”
Brown began his thank-yous at the top.
“Obviously, God,” Brown said. “I’d like to give a big thank you to my parents, all of my coaches, everyone who supported me along this journey. Anyone who’s been with me through this process, this four-year football extravaganza. It’s been crazy, but it’s definitely been a good ride. I just want to thank anyone who has followed me and believed in me along the way.
“A big thank you to coach Williamson,” Brown said. “He goes above and beyond to send anyone he can on to the next level and set them up great to be collegiate athletes. I think he does way more than he has to and I just want to give a big thank you to him.”
“Collier is an extraordinary person, student, athlete, all the way around,” Washington head football coach Chuck Williamson said. “He’s a well-rounded young man. He was one of our captains for a reason. The team followed him because of his work ethic. He’s not a rah-rah guy, but he leads by example.
“I think he has a really, really good opportunity,” Williamson said. “I know coach Feeney who’s been recruiting him from Akron. He believes he’ll be on scholarship in a very short time. Collier is in the weight room every day. He lifts when we lift and then he lifts on his own. I just can’t say enough about him.”