Romello Brown did not grow up in the greatest of neighborhoods in Detroit. He was in foster care before moving in with his aunt. They moved to Livonia, where he found himself at Churchill High School, far different from what he was used to in the Motor City.
As a result, he got in some trouble, struggled with classes, and had difficulty adjusting initially.
None of that matters anymore. In fact, while some revel in overcoming the odds, Brown doesn't like to talk about his past because he doesn't want what he earns to come from pity. For, you see, that same kid who came to Churchill a few years back became a star running back despite injuries. He has also overcome a bad start in the classroom and is now presented with collegiate opportunities. All of this coming on the heels of a fantastic senior season for him, and his team.
"It feels great," he said. "We worked hard and tried to come out here and get a good season. It's tough how it ended, but the seniors played really great and came out and did what we needed to do."
Brown had a great year as a junior, but because of academic uncertainty, offers did not come in for him. Then, in January, he ruptured his Achilles tendon playing basketball. His coaches took him to one of the best surgeons in the area, knowing full well that sports was his ticket to college and a better future.
Still, the optimistic view was that Brown would not be fully healthy until mid-season. Through intense rehab, he recovered quicker than anyone thought he would. He was out there, healthy as ever for game one. Any question as to whether or not he would be the same was quickly answered. He finished this season with 1,843 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Now, he is simply waiting to hear from more schools Ferris State and Wayne State have offered, and more could be on the way.
"I've talked to a couple D1 schools, mostly D2," he explained. "Wayne State, Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Eastern Michigan, Central Michigan, that's about it really. I went up to Northwood. I was invited to Ferris, but couldn't make it up there. I went up to Grand Valley and Wayne State, and I was invited to Central, but I couldn't make that either."
With his bruising style in a 5'11, 240-lb frame, Brown has the size and power schools look for in a back. He also now has the grades they look for. After many hours of summer school to replace his early struggles and other countless hours spent on test prep, Brown recently scored a 20 on his ACT and is now fully qualified.
"It was really good to just get back the test results. It's a relief off my back. All I could think about is, would I be able to play college football? I got the results and now I can breathe and relax, and know I will play college football."
No matter where he ends up, the first time Brown suits up on Saturday next year will be a special day for him. Just as special will be years later, when he walks across the stage holding a diploma. It has been a long road, but Brown has buckled down and gritted his way through all of his obstacles. Just as he did every defense he faced as well.
"I've been through a lot between family issues and my Achilles tendon injury. It will be great to put on any kind of uniform on Saturdays and get suited up to help the team I play with. It's a good accomplishment after all I've been through and it would really feel amazing."
ROMELLO BROWN SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS