LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - When Atherton High School senior Darrell Brown committed to play football at Urbana University in Ohio, it was the culmination of years of hard work. Brown, a running back and defensive lineman, was even awarded a partial scholarship to attend the institution after graduation.
“Football season my senior year, it’s everything I imagined,” Brown told WAVE 3 News. “I went on the visit [to Urbana], it felt like home. It felt like somewhere I could see myself the next four years, bettering my future and my career. I signed and it was just a surreal moment to be one step closer to my dream.”
For Brown, that dream is now delayed.
Urbana, founded in 1850, shut its doors in April citing coronavirus stress and uncertainty.
“Everybody was pretty shocked. I had called my roommate and told him, and he was like, ‘This can’t be real.’ It just didn’t seem real, something we worked really hard for, something we were really looking forward to,” Brown said.
Brown’s mother Donna Knox is now trying to make sense of all the planning gone to waste.
“We paid all the fees because we wanted to stay ahead, you know, so we wouldn’t pay so much later. I’ve paid dorm fees and student fees,” Knox said. “My son has so much Urbana stuff at home now, all the clothing and the shoes he wanted to wear to school. We were invested.”
Knox said she has still not recouped any of the money she paid to Urbana and was not satisfied with how the school handled the closure.
Despite the setback, though, Knox said she’s staying positive and counting her blessings. Without Urbana, Knox said she and her son would have never met Bishop Edwards, a would-be Urbana teammate from Providence High School in Clarksville.
Edwards, a quarterback and linebacker, told WAVE 3 News he was also committed to play at the Ohio school, and he became fast friends with Brown through social media.
“Friendship turned easily into family, really,” Edwards said.
The two seniors are now training together and making plans to get signed to the same school in the fall, telling coaches and recruiters they’re a package deal.
“A lot of the schools are far away, so I’ve told them I’m very interested, but it’s kind of hard if I can’t bring my brother, you know. As long as he can come, I’m there,” Edwards said.
Knox, who now calls Edwards her godson, says she’s encouraged by the friendship.
“I’ve never seen two kids more determined, you know, to say that they’re going to make it,” Know said. “This is just the beginning.”
Knox said Brown and Edwards have been in communication with several interested schools but not being able to visit has impacted their search.
Brown hopes to commit to another football program soon and sign before his birthday June 29.