National Signing Day was a great day for Curtis Terry of Glenville High
School. He signed his name on a Letter of Intent to attend college at The Ohio State University. But every day, now, is a great day for Terry!
"I don't really realize what I just did," said Terry shortly after he signed his LOI. "Everybody in Ohio wants to play football for Ohio State, and they're never going to have the opportunity. So I'm just very humble and very appreciative of this opportunity."
To say that Terry has traveled a rather difficult and arduous journey just to get to this point in his life is an understatement, relatively speaking.
"You or I couldn't have even handled the things that he's been through," said Ted Ginn Sr., the head coach at Glenville. "I don't know his mom, and I'm not sure where she's at now, I've never met her. I just met his dad this year. So for a kid of his age just trying to find a place to lay his head and get a meal, and not get into trouble with the law...that's big."
Through the grace of God and a strong belief in himself, Terry has overcome one adversity after another over a short time period.
"I'm just a hard worker. I'm a person that has been through a lot and has overcome a lot in his life to get to this point," Terry said. "I've been at the bottom, all the way at the bottom of the barrel. I've been homeless. I've been from house to house. Everything. I've been through it all. There's not too many situations that I haven't been through."
Terry (#99) in uniform during the season
Terry said everything was going along fine in his life until he got close to
his high school years. That's about when his world starting crumbling down all
"My mother and father were in and out of jail, and then my grandfather passed; that was really tough," he said. "I had nothing. I just had hope that one day I would be able to get out of here and make something of myself, do something, just anything with my life."
Ginn Sr. first knew of Terry from when he was in middle school.
"He used to come up (to Glenville) and lift weights at 6 in the morning and catch the bus, and I would give him money to go back to his middle school so he could be at school on time," Ginn said. "Because of his work ethic, everybody looked at him as an athlete and didn't really know what he needed. And we lost track of him there for a minute, but I was always there."
Terry is now a fifth-year senior. He transferred to Glenville this year from Collinwood High School.
"It's because of homelessness," Ginn said. "He didn't have a home, and you can't finish up if you're not in school, so the state granted him another semester to play sports. We wanted to use that along with academics to try to get him a way in life. And he knew that this was the school to go to. He remembered when I told him when he was little that I would take care of him, and I did. Well, he took care of himself really."
"But that's what the program does here at Glenville, it saves children. We don't win championships, but we save children. We're getting close and that's big, but it's not big. We'd rather save lives than win championships."
Obviously, Ginn and the program at Glenville has saved Terry.
"The most major change in my life was to get Coach Ginn in my life," he said. "He sat me down, he treated me like a son and he helped me through a lot of situations and stuff. He just let me know that he would be there for me and wouldn't turn his back on me."
Terry said Ginn was probably the last rope that he left to grab.
"Without him, I can't even tell you where I'd be at right now," he said. "I'd probably be somewhere in the streets doing something just trying to survive."
And now Terry is the ultimate survivor.
"God just puts you in certain situations to see how you're going to react, to see if you can overcome a situation, to see what type of person you are, to test character," he said. "And I felt like I did an okay job and I've been blessed."
And his reward came when he officially visited Ohio State on the last weekend in January. Terry was offered a scholarship while on his visit and he committed to Jim Tressel on the Sunday before Signing Day.
"I'm very fortunate and very blessed to have this opportunity," Terry said. "Right now, I plan to come in and work very hard and get on special teams. I know that they have an excellent corps of young linebackers, and I figure they're going to play. So I'll just come in and do whatever it takes to get better and to help everybody around me get better. Even if it's just being on special teams, blocking or just going hard in practice."
Terry will likely graduate from Glenville as a full qualifier before this summer and be ready at that time to become a Buckeye. According to Ginn, the sky is the limit in life and especially on the gridiron now for Terry.
"He's going to do whatever it takes," the coach said. "I think Curtis is a well-grounded, humble kid and he's going to go in and he's going to do whatever he has to do. If he has to be the long snapper or mop the floors or go on special teams, he's not concerned with that. He's just grateful to have a chance in life. I expect big things from him. He's going to be the unknown hero."
For now the 6-2, 205 Terry with a 4.49 second 40-yard dash and a 40-inch vertical jump will continue living a dream.
"Going to Ohio State is the big dream for Curtis Terry right now. Curtis Terry never thought that he would be here right now," he said. "I thought of going to the Service, the Army, the Air Force; anything to escape this. But thanks to Coach Ginn, I'll be able to get a shot at maybe the League someday. That would be the next step, to go to the League. Coming through all this, I feel like no obstacle can stop me form achieving what I want to do. To me, nothing will ever be harder than this, just getting to this point right here. I feel like nothing will ever be this hard again."
Keep dreaming big, Curtis Terry.