Making the Grade - Frank Brown (Sterling High School)

"The thing is, is that he has confidence, but you don't hear him talk about it quite a bit. It's normally in his performance where he shows that he's in control of what he's doing when he's actually playing the game," says Sterling High School head football coach Kanavis McGhee.

Frank Brown is an excellent student-athlete from a single parent home with special skills, talents and confidence – qualities that he proudly displays on the football field, as a member of the track team, and in the Sterling High School classrooms.

"We've grown together. I was kind of a rookie teacher when Frank started. We've grown together. But Frank is a good student, engaging," say law enforcement teacher Patrice Tiller.

And he leads – that's what leaders do.

"Leadership basically is like, you know, stepping up when the team needs you, you know, getting in their ear, being the extra voice in their head to push them. Coach McGhee, like he says, if you get somebody to play better than they think they can, that's what a leader is," says Brown.  

Brown is a leader on the stat sheet at Sterling and in the Houston area. Cool thing is, he's sharing this moment with his brother, Anthony Brown, at quarterback. He's caught 17 passes for 446 yards and three touchdowns on the ground through five games. Frank has 24 carries for 300 yards and seven touchdowns.

Kanavis McGhee was a star linebacker at Wheatley High School and Colorado. He was taken in the 2nd round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. He knows talent and work ethic when he sees it. Hence, McGhee has helped Brown grow and says he's just getting started.

"It's a balanced approach to trying to achieve some of the objectives you want from this game. Meaning you can be a really good athlete at the game, but if you're not taking care of the student part of it, you're not going to achieve what it is you're trying to achieve. He came in like most freshmen, not really knowing exactly how to go about doing this. But he took heed to words and information I was giving," says Coach McGhee.

"When a college coach comes, the first thing they ask is your grades. They come because they've already seen what you can do on the field, now they want to see what you do in the class. You have to provide both," Brown says.

And Brown can provide now with this course load.

"Economics, health, law enforcement twice— third and fourth— my fifth is college prep math, my sixth is college prep ELA, my seventh anatomy and my eight is gym.

Brown is all-in now. But, it took time, patience, and nurturing.

"The freshman year – it was kind of difficult. A little immaturity. Then there was a group of ninth graders. It was hard. It was a group of he and his friends, his teammates. It was a bit challenging," says Tiller.

But, eventually, the tide turned.

"I think them getting to know me and me getting to know them, getting to know that Ms. Tiller wasn't going to tolerate it. So we had some head butting and had to talk to some coaches and here we are," Tiller says.

With a heartfelt desire to get better and compete in the classroom like he does on the field, a student-teacher challenge some time ago amounts to a funny moment.

"I think it was when we took her final exam last year, I told her I was going to make 100. I didn't make 100. I made 80. She laughed at me," Brown says.

Not anymore. He has 20 scholarship offers for athletics and academics.