Three former Glenville High School football players are looking to carry on the tradition that started with Super Bowl XLVII participants Donte Whitner and Ted Ginn Jr., who were two of the nearly 10 former Tarblooders in the NFL last year.
Hawaii defensive back Mike Edwards, Louisiana Tech safety Jamel Johnson, and Toledo tight end Cordale Scott were three of the 14 Cleveland-area natives who worked out in front of the Cleveland Browns’ scouting department and coaches at the team’s Berea training facility Friday.
“I’m just trying to keep that legacy going,” Scott said. “We’ve got Ted Ginn, Donte Whitner, Troy Smith, legendary guys at Glenville. It’s just an honor to be (mentioned) with those guys. It was God putting me in certain situations to go to Glenville because I could’ve gone any other way, but Glenville’s a great program. Other high schools don’t give what Glenville gives, so it was a great opportunity.”
“As you can see, it’s tattooed on me,” Johnson said as he pointed to his left biceps. “I learned so many lessons there, life lessons, and Glenville is major in developing me as a man. Coach (Ted) Ginn does a great job over there, he and coach Tony Overton. I got the opportunity to grow up around these great men, mentors that want nothing but the best for the kids there.”
Johnson, Edwards and Scott said playing for Glenville’s coach, Ted Ginn Sr., was a unique experience because he represented a father-figure in their lives.
“I just learned to take off that mask, and do the things off the field that you would do on the field,” Edwards said. “I learned a lot about life from Coach Ginn, and it meant a lot for me to play for him. He taught me. When I didn’t have a father, that was my dad. Coach Ginn has always been there in my life, and it’s been a tremendous experience to not only play for him, but to be a part of that man’s life.”
Ginn was a volunteer coach at Glenville from 1976-86, and moved into an assistant’s role in 1986. In 1997, Ginn became the Tarblooders’ head coach, and has taught his charges many lessons since that time.
One of the lessons Ginn passed on to his players is the importance of representing the program and serving as an example for the next generation of Tarblooders.
“That’s huge, just to carry on the torch and have that feeling that it will go on, and more than what it means to me, what it will mean to that guy who’s younger than me to say, ‘He did it. Why can’t I do it?’” Johnson said. “I think it’s more about that visual for the kids and the younger guys to know that it can be done.”
Edwards added, “It means a lot for us, the younger guys to keep the legacy going because that’s all Coach Ginn wants us to do. That’s all Coach Ginn implements in the program, to be the best that you can be. Whether that’s in life, whether that’s in football, I just want to be the best Mike that I can be. That’s what I live my life by every day. It’s not about me anymore. It’s about my two boys, and it’s about the kids that come up under me, the younger boys at Glenville. It’s about them, and it’s up to me to help set the legacy for those boys.”