|Lorenzo Terry III of Los Angeles Harbor College has overcome odds and personal tragedy to become a verbal commitment to Idaho State. He now hopes his story can inspire others, particularly his hometown of Hemet, Calif. (photo contributed).|
Most kids who dream of a college football career rarely say that playing for Idaho State would be a dream come true for them. After all, the average young football player has their sights set on chasing collegiate glory at Alabama, Ohio State, Florida State, Norte Dame, USC, UCLA, Stanford, etc.
But for Lorenzo Terry III of Los Angeles Harbor College, he can’t wait to suit up for the Bengals and realize his dream of playing on Saturdays. The Football Championship Subdivision school has granted his wish of playing at the collegiate level; plus help bury a series of hardships that include losing a young soul dear to his heart, overcoming a family burglary and lastly, ending the negative attitudes that used to scream in his head while growing up in Hemet, Calif.
“From being that kid who had zero offers, zero stars and zero hype, from having limited help with my recruiting to becoming a Division-I football athlete is a blessing and feeling that some people wouldn't understand,” Terry said. “I had many friends and knew plenty who hung their cleats up after high school, but I told myself that was never going to be me. So what did I do? I stuck with it, prayed and God answered all of my prayers.”
His journey doesn’t just include rising above the opposing opinions of others, but also conquering depression following a family calamity - which nearly ended his football career and ambition of performing at the next level.
Terry just wrapped up his first year of college, as he suited up for College of the Sequoias in Visalia, located in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Terry wasn’t just coming back to Hemet as a junior college football player, but a new father.
Monroe Arion Terry was supposed to breathe life into the world and add parenting to Terry’s busy life as a college student-athlete. But tragedy struck on May 30…as Monroe became a stillborn and died.
“I was heartbroken. It took piece of life from me that was hard for me to gain back,” Terry said.
His son’s sudden death left a toll on Terry’s mind, to the point where putting on the cleats, gloves and pads nearly became a thing of the past for him.
“For the rest of the 2014 season, I thought I had given up,” Terry said. “I did not attend school nor did I participate on a football team. I was just sitting at home locked in my room, where depression took its hardest hit.”
Terry and his family chose to have his son cremated and then kept inside an urn at the home of Monroe’s grandmother. Then on July 29, 2014, Terry said he lost his son a second time.
“Someone broke into my mother’s home and stole many materialistic values, but none of them mattered to me but one thing…they took my son’s urn with his ashes in them,” Terry said. “That was the last that I had of my son and he was gone not once, but twice.”
Friends of Terry immediately took to Facebook to help Terry find his son’s ashes. Terry not only used Facebook to try to locate the whereabouts of his son, but took to Instagram by using the hashtag “Bring Back Baby Monroe.” There’s been no reports of the urn being returned or found.
After losing his son and the burglary of his mom’s home, Terry returned to the football field with the hope he would become rejuvenated. He wound up finding a new college home – which was a beginning of a healing period for him and his family.
FLYING WITH THE SEAHAWKS...THEN BECOMING A BENGAL
Terry transferred to Los Angeles Harbor College in the summer of 2014. Terry had to redshirt due to transfer rules, but refocused in the classroom and in workouts. Terry calls L.A. Harbor “the college I learned so much from.”
He added new members to his family tree: the Seahawk coaches.
“The coaching staff were great mentors and in a way, father figures to me,” Terry said. “They taught me how to maturely handle situations off and on the field and become mentally strong. They also worked with me to become the best athlete they knew I could be.”
That motivation and relationship with his coaches turned Terry into a valuable contributor for the Seahawks. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Terry emerged as the ‘Hawks’ top lockdown cornerback, as he led the team with nine pass breakups and collected 27 tackles, which led the L.A. Harbor cornerback unit.
Terry’s ability to hang with the opposition’s top wide receiver did enough to convince Idaho State to look closely at him. Then - via a recommendation from one of Terry’s mentors Kordell Knox, the owner of Gridiron Football Academy – the Bengals decided to extend a scholarship offer to the revitalized Terry.
On Dec. 11, 2015, Terry accepted Idaho State’s offer. The decision wasn’t a weight that was lifted off of Terry’s shoulders, but rather an uplifting moment for a man who needed it.
Terry said he admitted he was nervous about to talking to Idaho State, considering the events that occurred in his life before emerging as a national recruit.
“When coach (Stanley) Franks visited my school, we sat and we talked for a while. He asked for my transcripts, but I was really nervous because of everything that I've been through personally which had a huge effect on my grades,” Terry said. “But he sat there and listened to my story. And that's when I knew God heard my prayers. Coach Franks didn't pass up on me.”
Terry is being recruited to play cornerback, but “coach Franks knows I'll be a dominant threat with the ball in my hands on special teams (kick returns/punt returns) and feels I can play at the nickel position covering inside receivers.”
|Terry has a customized photo on his social media pages that tells the story of someone who was looked down upon while chasing a collegiate career (photo contributed).|
Hemet isn’t a major community, with a population of approximately 78,000. Therefore, Terry knows he comes from small surroundings.
He also remembers what was said to him while trying to breakout as a national recruit during his prep days at West Valley High School.
“Throughout high school, I was always the small guy and the ‘you'll never make it to Division-I football' target,” Terry said. “My whole life I've been doubted and always overlooked by many coaches because I wasn't the big body type player everyone was looking for. Where I come from, everyone doesn't make it. So I always told myself ‘I have to show people from where I'm from that nothing is impossible.’”
If Hemet football players have ever had trouble making it to the NCAA DI ranks, Terry just kicked that door open. He’s not only a solid commitment to Idaho State or is thankful for everyone who never stopped believing in him, but personal misfortune never derailed his trek to the FCS realm. He hopes his story inspires others.
Said Terry: “I have a special quote that I would like to tell all underrated athletes out there or people going through a rough time in their life: Never give up, nothing is impossible and the possible is only possible if you are determined to make it happen.”