I had been having feelings of doubt and uncertainty for the better part of my second semester in college, primarily with how football was going. I had just moved into a new house with some of my fellow teammates following the completion of my freshman school year. The school requires all student athletes to live in the dorms for their first year on campus which is something that I absolutely despised, so I was more than ready for a change of pace.
The four of us decided to rent townhouse off campus. It was just far enough from the stadium that we felt we would have some time to live our own lives apart from the constant thoughts of practice and early morning lifts. It was a three story building and each of us had our own room. Mine overlooked around a 1/2 mile of corn fields until you met the road that led you back toward the stadium. It was everything a 19 year old kid could want in college.
It was a nice change being surrounded by friends who were also making efforts to find their spot on the team, but unlike myself, they had their opportunity to show off their potential contributions during the spring game. As summer camp approached, I was still feeling optimistic about finding my niche. Over the course of the summer, my roommates and I would sit down in our living room after practice and constantly encourage each other that we were going to do something big. This was going to be our year.
As the summer came to an end, players were given two weeks off before camp started. I used every moment I had to hit the gym and run drills back in Chicago. I needed to shine during any opportunity I had. It would be the first time that my defensive line coach would be seeing me since the spring game, due to the fact that all coaches with the exception of strength coaches could not hold mandatory meetings over summer according to NCAA rules. I didn't want to give him an reason to think I was underprepared to play.
Driving back to Morgantown, thoughts raced through my head as to what expect. I couldn't even give a real answer when friends and family back home asked what my role on the team would be for the upcoming season. I arrived back at the town house that evening anxious to find out the next morning. As I arrived in the locker room my question was soon answered...scout team...again.
I know it was slightly irrational, but I thought I had done my share of work to make my way up the ladder to receive reps with the rest of the team. Although there were plenty of other players that took years to see time on the field, I just didn't see that as a valid option for me. After the first day back at camp, I took the time to speak to my defensive line coach. I quickly realized that he had no plans of allowing me to see the field within the first minute of our conversation. I decided to leave the WVU football that day.
I had previously spoken to my roommates about leaving the team, and when they saw that I came home with my additional gear from my locker, they already knew. They even asked the following day if I was going to practice, and I flat out told them I was never going back. My plan was simple, finish out the semester as a normal student and then head back to Chicago to sort things out.
Every time I didn't live up to my expectations on the football field, I always thought it was due to being undersized. There was only one solution to me at the time, become the heaviest version of myself that I've ever become. After all, the only thing I saw myself as on the field was an immovable object. It was not to be a glorious job, but it was one I wanted to be.
Over the course of my third semester, I became entirely transfixed on increasing my weight and strength. So much in fact, that it changed me as a human being. I became more secluded. I shaved my head and wore nothing but black clothing. It was to constantly remind myself of the shame of not fulfilling my dream to be a star West Virginia football player. I wouldn't let this happen again.
As the fall semester came to a close, I had been accepted to community college in a suburb about 20 minutes outside of South Side Chicago. It was a difficult task for me to do, but leaving my roommates in West Virginia was just another step that was necessary to achieving my goal. It was now off to Moraine Valley Community College, my last chance to gain to size I needed to go to another division one school.