After a stellar 2002 season that saw Windell rush for 2,008 yards on 213 carries, he registered 469 yards receiving on 17 receptions and scored 40 touchdowns. As a safety on defense he was in on 56 tackles and had 10 sacks. Brown was named to the 1st Team AP All-State Team (small school), Harrisburg Patriot News Platinum 33 Team, WPIAL Class A Player Of The Year, Pittsburgh Post Gazette Class A Player Of The Year, and The Tribune-Review Class A Player Of The Year. Windell committed to the University of Pittsburgh and everything was good in the world.
Then came a series of events, which would change the young man forever. He was academically ineligible to enroll at Pittsburgh during the 2003 school year. He had lost his parents and was forced to live with his sister or turn to the streets. While living with his sister the police showed up at the residence and found drugs under a couch in the living room. As in any situation such as this, the police arrest first and then sort out the facts later. Brown pleaded his innocence in the case and was later let go after his sister's boyfriend admitted to the crime. Pittsburgh coaches Walt Harris and Bob Junko stood by the charismatic and soft-spoken young man. They knew his character was better than that, as did his high school coach Pat Monroe and other members of the Duquesne community.
"Windell is a great kid. He has faced a rough time in his life. Many of these kids face that here in Duquesne. I feel he will make it and will play for Pitt," said Monroe.
There was one curveball in the life of Windell Brown that he eluded and dealt with. The academics were the roadblock at that point, and still are to this day. He is faced with an SAT test on June 5th that could decide his future. If he scores the required amount, he plans on enrolling at Pittsburgh to play for the Panthers. If not, he realizes he will have to move on. He is looking at some PSAC schools such as Bloomsburg and Slippery Rock.
There have been many rumors about Windell possibly going to Toledo.
Windell, is there any validity in those rumors?
"I have an offer on the table from Pittsburgh. That is where I want to go. I haven't considered any other 1A programs. Right now, I need to get these test scores and go from there. If I get what I need I will be a Pittsburgh Panther," stated Brown.
Being two years removed from the game, are you anywhere close to being in the shape you once were?
"I go to the high school and lift at least 3 days a week. I play basketball to stay in shape. When I was coming out of high school, I was 6-0, 180 lbs. Right now, I'm a solid 6-1, 205."
You are an intelligent and bright kid. Why has the test been so difficult for you and what measures have you taken to be better prepared for it now?
"I have taken the PSAT test and done well. I just seem to have trouble focusing on it and taking it, sitting in a room for four hours and concentrating on it. There are a lot of little things that I did not know on how to properly take the test. I feel I am better prepared this time to take it."
No matter what happens on June 5th when Windell Brown takes his college boards, he has overcome some obstacles that most grown adults would not have. Anyone who questions the heart and desire of these kids only needs five minutes of speaking to a kid like Windell to realize what it's like to live in his world. Most football fans only see and watch the athlete who runs, catches the big pass, throws the game winning touchdown, or makes the big play on defense. They often don't realize that when these kids go home, football is all they have and that is why they don't take it for granted.
I try an be non biased when writing about a kid, but I can honestly admit when I did this piece it made my eyes a little watery and I feel like a better person for having the opportunity to interview and meet a fine young kid like Windell Brown. I'm sure with the perseverance that he has already shown that he's going to succeed whether it's at Pittsburgh or somewhere else. We will have an update on Windell's status in about a month when his test scores come back. We wish him the best of luck.
Exclusive One-on-One with Windell Brown
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