Geneva Brumfield believes an event can serve as a sign for the future. But she never expected road signs to be a beacon for the future.
“When Garrett was 8 we were driving to pick up his father and we passed a sign about youth football,” she recalled. “He said, ‘Can I play football,’ and I said it was too dangerous. Then we saw another sign just like it on down the road.
“He told me ‘Mom, if I play football I can get my college paid for and go to the NFL.’ After seeing two signs, I decided maybe there was something to it. Maybe he should try football.”
Fast-forward almost nine years and 17-year-old Garrett Brumfield is on the verge of making a part of that prediction a reality.
The 6-foot-4, 280-pound University High senior-to-be committed to LSU during the spring and is rated 91st overall nationally by rivals.com and No. 7 overall in Louisiana. He is the third-rated offensive guard prospect nationally.
Football, obviously, is a big part of Brumfield’s story. He gets rave reviews.
“Brumfield is one those guys like (former Redemptorist offensive lineman La’el Collins of LSU), who I coached at Redemptorist,” Dunham coach Guy Mistretta said.
“First of all, he looks the part. Guys like that jump out at you on film and in a game. He’s a special one.”
University coach Chad Mahaffey adds, “Garrett can play guard and tackle because he understands not just his position, but where everybody else is supposed to be. Not all high school linemen can do that.”
There is more to Brumfield’s story than a teen making good on a childhood dream. He loves magic and card tricks. He started doing spray-paint art after seeing it on the Internet. Brumfield’s story also is steeped in academics and parental school choice.
“I’ve always told him football is your dream and I support you,” Brumfield’s father, F. Paul Brumfield, said. “But football is going to come to an end some day. What you put in your head stays forever. We’ve always stressed education with him since he was in elementary school.”
Brumfield carries a 3.0 grade point average and has a 26 on the ACT, a college admissions test he started taking as an eighth-grader at Sherwood Middle Magnet.
Figuring out what direction to take after middle school was a challenge.
Brumfield attended summer workouts at Capitol before his freshman year under Chadwick Germany, who is now an assistant at Southern University, but did not enroll.
“We wanted an academic program more like what he had in middle school,” Geneva Brumfield said.
Instead, Brumfield spent the first semester of his freshman year at Scotlandville and was enrolled in the school’s engineering program. Brumfield was admitted to U-High for the spring semester, a school located closer to their Sherwood area residence.
“We did what we felt was best for our son,” F. Paul Brumfield said. “I’ll be happy to tell anybody that my son was not recruited to go to U-High. We pay tuition. It was a choice we made as a family.”
Brumfield played guard as a sophomore at U-High and tackle last season, when he earned All-Metro and all-state honors. That led to another important decision, picking a college.
He committed to LSU after also receiving offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Florida, Texas A&M, Miami, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, USC, UCLA, TCU, Texas and Arkansas.
“Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to play college football,” Brumfield said. “As far as where I wanted to play, I never really thought about that until my recruitment started. My final three were LSU, Alabama and Florida.
“For about a three-week period I had a different No. 1 school every three or four days. My mom had me make a list of pros and cons for the schools. After that, I felt like LSU was where I wanted to go. My dad told me ‘If you know where you want to go, just say it. Don’t dance around the facts.’ And I did.”
“Now obviously, we’re LSU fans, but that couldn’t factor in the decision,” F. Paul Brumfield added. “We wanted Garrett to make a decision based on what each school offered. Every family handles the process differently. We’re not media hounds. I don’t believe in putting three hats on the table and picking one on signing day. We wanted him to make a decision.”
When her son picked LSU, Geneva Brumfield was thrilled.
“I cried when he committed,” she said. “We would have followed him wherever he wanted to go. The only game I ever missed was because I was in the hospital. To know we’ll be able to go to home games right here on Saturday nights means a lot.”
Brumfield’s energy is now focused on the upcoming season. Unlike some linemen, he lost weight this spring and is working to add muscle.
“My freshman year I was packing away the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and I gained weight, but it wasn’t the right way,” Brumfield said. “I’m eating healthy and trying to do it (add weight) gradually. I want to weigh 285 when the season starts.”
Helping the Cubs work toward a state title is a key goal for Brumfield and the other seniors. Last season, UHS lost in the Class 2A semifinals to Evangel Christian.
Brumfield said he likes what he sees in the UHS backfield that includes junior workhorse Nicholas Brossette and freshman-to-be phenom Dylan Moses at running back along with Manny Miles, son of LSU coach Les Miles, the new starter at quarterback.
“Everyone either got playing time last year or they’re really good,” Brumfield said. “We have great team chemistry. I feel like we can make a run at it again.
“Just the other day a guy on our team was mentioning how it’s been 25 years since U-High won a state (football) championship.
“It would be a great gift to give to the alumni.”
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