Brookwood’s Ethan Howard to make his way to Coastal Carolina
BROOKWOOD | Ethan Howard has meant a lot to Brookwood High School’s football program since the 6-foot-6-inch, 270-pound offensive lineman was talked into switching sports from golf to football his sophomore year.
Howard had never played a down, but he worked harder than any player, never complained and became a leader for his teammates on and off the field.
Head coach Ricky Bush and his staff took Howard in and watched him develop from what the coach described as a 16-year-old “bean-pole” into a stalky, college lineman-sized man.
That growth paid off Wednesday when Howard signed with Coastal Carolina, an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision School in Conway, S.C. But his progression was as much emotional as it was physical, and during the past two years, Brookwood football impacted Howard just as much as he impacted it.
The first time Howard strapped up his football gear for Brookwood, he was still mourning the death of his mother, Pam Howard, who lost her life to breast cancer. And nearly two years after Pam’s death, football is allowing her son to do what she always wanted for him — get a college education.
Before going to the table to sign his letter of intent and put on his Chanticleers hat in front of nearly the entire school, Howard went to his dad, Ronnie, bent down and buried his head in his father’s chest. With Ronnie’s eyes swelling with tears, they hugged and celebrated, knowing how proud Pam would be.
“She would be very happy,” Howard said. “I’m trying not to get emotional, but it’s kind of tough. I think she would be very pleased with me.”
Football gave Howard direction. It gave him something to do, people to be around, goals to chase and a family.
After the ceremony, Howard’s teammates came down from the bleachers and swarmed him. He fit what seemed like 50 people into his massive bear hug and smiled from ear to ear. He was with his family.
Originally published at www.tuscaloosanews.com on February 4, 2015.