FAIRFIELD — In the realm of student-athletes, the emphasis for Jeffrie Brown of the Armijo High football team is solidly on the “student” part.
It will stay that way for the next few years after the senior standout signed a letter of intent to play for prestigious Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.
“I went on a couple of visits and most of the schools I went to visit, they tried to talk you up (about) playing football,” Brown said. “The one thing I wanted people to know is I’m a student before an athlete. I wanted an education out of sports.”
With a sonic boom. Brown plans to double major in mechanical and aerospace engineering – “I’ve always been interested in engineering,” he said – with the intent of one day designing airplanes.
“It’s all about the academics,” Brown said. “It’s a blessing anytime you get to go to college. A lot of people get caught up in sports. . . . They’re giving me over $200,000 to attend, so I’m going to be taken care of very well there.”
Armijo coach Karl Finley has no doubts Brown will make a splash both academically and athletically.
“He has a great attitude and I think he’ll be successful,” the coach said. “The school he’s going to I think is getting a real good football player and a great student. He’s a very nice young man, an extreme pleasure to coach at Armjio.”
Brown fell in love with the Case Western campus during his visit and how its woven into Cleveland. He’s also looking forward to whatever comes his way academically.
“The campus is really incorporated into the city,” Brown said. “I like that a lot. The academics are thrown at you. They’re tough on academics, they’re really going to challenge me there, and I’m going to get a lot of playing time in football as well.”
The Spartans, 5-4 in 2013, have a rivalry game with Carnegie Mellon, which also showed an interest in Brown, called the Academic Bowl.
Brown endured two bumpy years with the Indians, including just two wins, both over crosstown rival Fairfield.
After Brown’s playing time was limited his junior season because of injuries, Armijo started out the 2013 season by being shutout in its first three games.
Brown ended the streak by bolting 85 yards for a touchdown against Antelope.
It was the first of four runs of 80 yards of more, the most ever in one season – or a career – by a city player.
“Something about Armijo taught me to humble myself,” Brown said. “You’re not always going to have the best season. . . . It helped me be more of a team player.”
Finley pointed out that Brown “rarely left the field” because of his versatility, and that trait should bode well in college.
“Great player, great kid, great student,” Finley said. “As you know, he’s very explosive. He can play any position in the defensive backfield. He’s very humble, a pleasure to coach.”
That pleasure now belongs to the Spartans.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.