Jeremy Towns continues to persevere, despite what many would deem an unfortunate turn of events.
The redshirt junior defensive lineman is now sitting out his second consecutive season due to injury. Towns, a native of Dolomite, Ala. has made his presence known not only on the defensive line in his first two seasons, but across Samford’s campus.
On the field in 2009 as a sophomore, Towns totaled 15 tackles, two sacks and two quarterback hurries. Off the field, the sports medicine major has maintained a 3.91 GPA, being named to the Dean’s List each semester.
As coaches anticipated a larger role for Towns this season, football has not always been there.
“Starting at age ten I played all the way up to ninth grade, and for various reasons, I stopped playing football to focus on basketball,” Towns said.
Towns, who was named to the North Region All-Tournament basketball team, returned to the football field for his senior year.
“I had always wanted to resume playing, but I had not put much thought into it,” Towns said.
“The idea of football kept turning over in my head. Coach let me come out even though it was less than two weeks before the first game.”
Samford coaches are glad he did. In July of 2008, head coach Pat Sullivan found Towns as a hidden secret.
In an interview with the Samford News Network’s August Rhea, Towns explained that Sullivan called him while he was at work at Walgreens about playing football at Samford. Towns reported to fall camp two weeks later.
Towns will admit it has not always been easy.
“[Playing football] has been very humbling,” Towns said. “Especially when considering we go to a school where a lot of people are fans of bigger teams. I know we will get better and better with time.”
After missing 2010 with a sports hernia and injuring his leg in fall camp this year, Towns said the psychological aspect has taken more of a toll than the physical.
“You have to understand that each year’s team has an identity of its own,” Towns said. “I will never get to play with guys from the 2010 season like Jason Gaines, John Michael Clay, Bryce Smith and Thomas Broussard.”
The 6-foot 4-inch, 300-pound tackle is confident in God’s plan and said it’s that relationship that has kept him positive.
“I have come to understand the biggest win you will ever have is a relationship with Jesus Christ,” Towns said. “And that relationship has definitely been my motivation to keep a positive attitude.”
As a result, Towns, a Samford Ambassador, is making his mark on campus and in Birmingham. He has lead a Bible study, helped tornado victims and given of his time helping at shelters.
“As a college athlete people are always watching you,” Towns said. “We can use our platform to really affect people’s lives. I do hope I have a positive impact of people’s lives, but my prayer is that people will know Jesus because only he can and will have an eternal impact.”