Tyrone Brown was expected to be a key factor in Central Florida high school football trench battles last fall. Brown was rated 37th player in the Orlando Sentinel's Central Florida Super60.
Unfortunately, a stress fracture in his right foot relegated the Lake Highland two-way standout lineman to something he never wanted - a bystander
"I was a captain and there I was on crutches, rooting on the team,'' said Brown, who will be headed to the United States Military Academy Prep School at West Point next week. "I was on the sidelines, trying to be a leader.''
Brown fractured the foot doing a 40-yard dash at a summer camp last June. "I heard it pop, but one of the coaches there said, 'I want to see how tough you are,' so I kept on going,'' he said.
Brown went to two doctors who missed the fracture until Dr. John A. Papa of the Jewett Orthopedic Clinic in Winter Haven saw a shadow on an x-ray in August. Brown had surgery the day before Lake Highland started its season.
"The one doctor said there was nothing wrong, the next one thought I had a pinched nerve, but I kept hurting,'' Brown said. "Dr. Papa saw it.''
Since Lake Highland is a small school, the loss of its leading lineman hit especially hard. Before the injury, he had been recruited by LSU, TCU and Florida International and was offered a chance to walk on at Florida. But Army was first and it stuck by Brown has he recovered. He signed with the Black Knights two weeks after signing date in February.
"Even when I was hurt, coach (Clarence) Holmes would be calling me, seeing how I was doing, encouraging me,'' Brown said.
When I visited (West Point) I thought their weight room facilities were better than Florida's,
The kids on my visit were cool and coach Holmes kept up with me. I felt like Army really wanted me. Florida was like 'will let you walk on.
- Linebacker, Zach Watts
"When I visited (West Point) I thought their weight room facilities were better than Florida's,'' he added. ""The kids on my visit were cool and coach Holmes kept up with me. I felt like Army really wanted me. Florida was like 'will let you walk on.''
Brown did get back to play one game. Lake Highland's Class 2B second-round playoff game with Island Coast High School Nov. 26. Island Coast won 42-21 in Cape Coral, Fla. Brown said he felt fine outside of not being in great game condition. He often found himself blocking defensive end Aaron Lynch, who will play at Notre Dame.
"Kids I'm going to be playing against can't be much better than that,'' said Brown.
Brown has been cutting grass and washing car around his workouts. "Every year I've played consistently against Division I kids. I know what to expect.''
He said a year at prep will be great, especially since he missed virtually all of last season.
"It's just what I needed,'' he said.
Brown is another component of a very deep and talented group of defensive players who will be assembled at the USMAPS.
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