IRONTON — Beau Brownstead wants to be able to say he played college football, not just that he was on the roster.
The Ironton High School standout fullback signed with Grove City (Pennsylvania) College earlier this week, picking the Wolverines from among 20 offers, the most interesting of which was Furman University, a FCS school where Brownstead’s dad, Heath, was a star fullback in the early 1990s.
“To be offered as a preferred walk-on at Furman was kind of cool,” Beau Brownstead said. “My dad, though, kind of talked me out of going there. I’m a little on the smaller side and Furman is really expensive. I don’t want to go somewhere and stand on the sidelines. I think I’ll have more fun playing at a Division III school.”
The younger Brownstead is 5-foot-11, 215 pounds. He said he thinks he will fit well in the offense at Grove City, a NCAA Division III school in the President’s Athletic Conference, which includes Bethany, Chatham, Geneva, St. Vincent, Thiel, Washington & Jefferson, Waynesburg, Westminster, Carnegie Mellon, Case Western reserve and Franciscan. Grove City is located 58 miles north of Pittsburgh.
Brownstead transferred to Ironton from Raceland before his senior season and helped the Fighting Tigers to a 13-2 record and a runner-up finish in the Ohio Division V state championship game.
“They use the fullback a lot,” Brownstead said. “They even use two fullbacks sometimes and they use an H-back. It’s a lot of stuff that I’m used to. They run a lot of stuff similar to what I ran at Raceland before I came to Ironton. It’s a nice system to play in.”
Brownstead, who said he will major in entrepreneurship, raved about Grove City head coach Andrew DiDonato, who was named the PAC coach of the year in 2018 after leading the Wolverines to their first winning season in 21 years. DiDonato’s Grove City teams have gone 0-10, 4-6, 8-3 and 9-2 and in 2017 broke a 33-game losing streak.
“The word I’d use is ‘culture’ for why I picked Grove City,” said Brownstead, who owned offers from Indiana Wesleyan, Hope, Dennison, Concordia, Wittenberg, Tiffin and others. “Coach DiDonato and those guys have a vision for he program. They have a vision to win the conference and you look at how they’ve gone from 0-10 to 9-2, they’re building it brick by brick.”
Brownstead said he’s not afraid to venture the 323 miles from home. In fact, Brownstead likes new challenges. This year he joined Ironton High’s Varsity Singers.
“I’m not very good, but it’s been fun,” Brownstead said, with a laugh. “I needed an art credit and thought I’d try it. I like it.”