Young supports alma mater

Posted Nov 17, 2012

Cleveland Browns defensive back Usama Young has not forgotten where he came from and still supports Kent State University’s football team.

Cleveland Browns defensive back Usama Young is one proud alumnus of Kent State University.

The Golden Flashes are 10-1 overall and clinched the MAC East Division championship, as well as a spot in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game with Saturday’s win over Bowling Green.

After dropping their second game of the season at Kentucky, the Golden Flashes have rattled off nine straight victories, including a signature win at then 15th ranked Rutgers on Oct. 27. Young plans on seeing Kent State play against Ohio University next Friday night.

“They’re balling,” Young said on the Cleveland Browns’ Thursday Night Preview Show this week. “I went to see them play early on in the year. I think it was Ball State and they came from behind. That was something that we could never do when I was in school.

“If we got into a bind or we were losing, we couldn’t come back from that deficit. They fell behind for a second and bounced right back, dealt with adversity and were able to get the win. That’s the making of a good team. They’ve won some close games and they blew out some good opponents, so I’m happy for them. I’m glad to go back next week.”

Young is one of three former Kent State players currently on the Browns’ roster, along with wide receiver/return specialist Joshua Cribbs and rookie defensive tackle Ishmaa’ily Kitchen. Having played at a smaller Division I school in the same state as a perennial Big Ten Conference championship contender in The Ohio State University, Young takes a lot of pride in making it to the NFL.

“Every team I’ve played against, we go against somebody in the MAC and I’ve got to show love because we’re a league that gets overlooked,” Young said. “That conference gets overlooked on a regular basis. Oftentimes, being in the Midwest, everybody’s looking at the Big Ten. I was in New Orleans some years back and everybody was looking at the SEC. Coming out of Kent State, you’re just like, ‘Man, come on. I’m tired of getting overlooked.'

“Coming to Cleveland was a great look for me. I got to reunite with an old college teammate in Josh Cribbs and now, we’ve got one of the younger guys who I didn’t play with at Kent, Ishmaa’ily Kitchen. He’s a baller, too. We’ve got them all around the league and we’re well represented in Cleveland.”

Now in his sixth NFL season, Young has played for the Browns and New Orleans Saints, who selected him in the third round (No. 66 overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft. Young has started 21 of 76 career games and registered 165 total tackles in that time. He has intercepted six passes, defended 20 more and made 63 special teams tackles.

“It’s very important to me (to play well) because, when I came out, I was a couple years after Josh Cribbs, a couple years after Abe Elam, guys that got overlooked in the draft,” Young said. “Me seeing their talent on a regular basis, I used to go against Cribbs in practice, not at receiver, but at quarterback. I knew how talented he was and I played alongside Abe and knew how talented he was. I’m like, ‘How are these dudes getting overlooked?’ Then, I got to my Pro Day and I was able to put on a show for the scouts, for the coaches, for the GMs that came and they were like, ‘Man, we’ve got somebody that we can’t pass up on.’

“I was able to get drafted, blessed to be in the draft and get selected because very few get the opportunity. To do that and be able to set that tone for the next guys ahead, I was like, ‘We’ve got to show out now.’ With Josh, before the kicks, he was covering on special teams, making big plays, making tackles. It’s just something we do. We grind. We’ve got that chip on our shoulder. We’ve got something to prove.”

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