Two Small Schools, Two Big Players


The Cleveland Browns drafted two players from non Football Bowl Subdivision, small schools. We acquired a running back, Terrance West, from Towson University and a cornerback, Pierre Desir, From Lindenwood University. Towson is a Division I FCS school while Lindenwood is a Division II school. Despite coming from unknown, low level universities, both players were ranked high on Cleveland’s draft board.

First, take a look at Terrance West, the bruiser back from Baltimore. The 5’9” 230 pounder walked onto Towson after being denied by Clemson, Maryland, and Morgan State. In addition to West being short and stout, he packs power. “He’s a tackle breaker. He’s a natural runner,” Oakland Raiders scout, Raleigh McKenzie stated.

Furthermore, West rushed for a record 2,519 yards last season while scoring a whopping 41 touchdowns on the ground. West is a downhill runner who makes people miss. The Baltimore native led his team to the FCS national championship game as a seventh seed. His best performance appeared in a victory over Eastern Illinois after racking up 354 yards and punching in five touchdowns. The third round selection proved his dedication to football by hopping on two busses every day to participate in 5 a.m. practice, while caring for a son.

In other words, it’s conclusive that Cleveland gained an amazing character with outstanding devotion. This is what the Browns need more of, especially with this current Josh Gordon situation.

Besides Terrance West, our new defensive back Pierre Desir is dedicated to the game of football. Besides sharing the same passion, the 127th overall pick traveled down a different path to the National Football League.

The Haitian-born corner played soccer as a child, not catching a football until freshman year of high school. The footwork required of soccer actually translates to football. Despite being recruited by universities such as Kansas, Michigan State, Missouri, Iowa, and Indiana, complications with entrance exams forced him to Washburn University. Desir intercepted 12 passes, appearing in 23 games throughout two seasons. After sitting out the 2011 year to move back home to Missouri, Desir attended Lindenwood University.

The cornerback finished his career with 25 picks and earning the 2013 Cliff Harris Award given to the nation’s top small school defensive back. The 6’1” 198 pound back uses his length to shut down receivers. The 23 year old will be the tallest corner on our team possessing athleticism, but whose tackling is questionable. Daniel Jeremiah said, “If he would have ran a little bit faster, you might have been looking at a second-round corner.” It also didn’t help enrolling at a Division II school.

Regardless of different paths to the pros, West and Desir share some common traits. They both had to care for children throughout college. Assuming both players couldn’t afford to move their offspring and mother to attend college, local universities seemed logical. I don’t believe scholarships include dependants leaving limited possibilities. Lower level schools were closer to home and more affordable.

In conclusion, the Cleveland Browns secured two quality football players with commendable character. Both West and Desir should work hard to land roster spots and with their talent it shouldn’t be an issue. It’s possible that Terrance West beats out Ben Tate for the starting spot while Pierre Desir could be on the field with fellow rookie Justin Gilbert and veteran Joe Haden. It will certainly be captivating to witness what transpires.

-Max Gold

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