Harry Brown, a key player for a Largo High program that has been one of the best in the county during his time there, signed a letter of intent to play football at the Florida Institute of Technology on Tuesday.
With a crowd of friends, family and teammates surrounding him in the weight room of the Missouri Avenue campus, Brown committed to play for a school going into its first year with a football program.
But for Brown, an exceptional student with a 4.2 GPA and aspirations to become an engineer, his decision wasn’t based on gridiron history or how many frat houses the school had.
“There were a lot of different factors that went into me making this decision,” he said. “First was education, second was the football program and third was the location. Out of all three, this school presented the best opportunity for me.”
He said the fact that the school is entering its first year with football as a Division II school was not a deterrent to him signing there.
"It's definitely different. But I feel like I'm going to be a part of something, like I'm going to help start something.
“I’m so happy right now. I couldn’t be more sure of anything else.”
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Largo head coach Rick Rodriquez called Brown, who also played running back and linebacker during his career, the prototypical Packer player.
“Harry Brown has been so special and instrumental to our program for four years,” he said. “He’s what Largo High School football is all about — hard work.”
“When I saw his as a freshman I knew he was on track to do something special. And that’s where he’s at right now.”
Surrounded by his family, including a brother, two sisters and his mom and dad, it was easy to see how Brown was able to make the right decision when it came to his future.
“We spent hours researching schools, analyzing all his options, to make sure he made the right decision,” Harry’s mom, Stephanie, said. “Ultimately it was Harry’s decision, but my husband put a lot of work into it, too.”
“We started this his freshman year, he wrote 30 letters and sent them to colleges,” his father Harry said. “So it’s been a long road and a lot of hard work.”
Emotions nearly got the best of the elder Brown as he talked about his oldest son leaving home.
“We’re a close family, so it’s exciting and sad at the same time because he’s not going to be there any more.
“But he’s staying close to home, he’s going to pursue his major, and he’ll get to play early in his college career. Those are all the things we looked for.”