USA Football: Brian Winters, Team USA Flashback
By Joe Frollo, USA Football
Brian Winters came to the U.S. Under-19 National Team with the hope it would help launch his college football career.
Little did he know how smoothly that would go.
After helping Team USA win a gold medal in the IFAF Under-19 World Championship in Canton, Ohio, Winters headed to Kent State, where he has started every game – 25 straight – for the Golden Flashes since walking onto campus as a true freshman.
A right tackle for the U.S. team, Winters continued at that position his first year at Kent State. He has since moved to left tackle and is a leader on that unit.
Football hasn’t taken Winters far in terms of miles – Kent and Canton are both less than an hour from Hudson, Ohio, where he grew up – but the sport already has provided a lifetime of opportunities. Winters recently spoke to USA Football about his college days and the month he spent with Team USA.
Is it hard to believe your college career is more than halfway over?
It’s crazy. It feels like last week I was playing for Team USA. I was telling my dad that the other day and how time flies. I have one more year left after this one, and I have a lot yet to do. I’m just looking forward to the next game and keeping my head up. We are going to do well forward.
Kent State started 0-3, losing to Alabama, Louisiana and Kansas State. What did you learn from those games?
Alabama obviously is a great team. We played Louisiana in a downpour, with what seemed like a foot-and-a-half of water. It was the most miserable game I’ve played in. Kansas State is a good Big 12 team but I thought I played well. We have a new coaching staff, and a new system. We’ve got some good talent on the team, and we should be better once the conference season starts.
As a potential four-year starter, have you thought about the possibility of playing in the NFL?
The offensive line coach will come in and tell me that people are there at practice to watch me, but I can’t worry about that. I’ve got to get my work in. I remember as a freshman … people would come to watch other players and I couldn’t wait until it was my turn. Now, I just try to have a good practice and focus on the task at hand. The future will take care of itself.
What do you remember best from Team USA?
It was definitely a good experience. Coming from high school, the talent level was a big step up. These were the best players from around the nation and from around the world. When practice started, it was crazy how fast everyone was. It got me prepared for that in the college game. High school players don’t realize that until they are in the situation
Do you still think about being part of Team USA?
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I wish I was still there and it wasn’t over with.
What would you tell high school seniors considering to be a part of Team USA?
It was a great experience that taught me a lot that you can’t learn in high school. It taught me about bonding, playing hard, what it takes to win at the next level. The difference between high school and college is huge, and you have to experience it before you can move on.
Do you still talk to your Team USA teammates?
All the time – Jack Mewhort and Storm Klein at Ohio State, Oday Aboushi at Virginia, all the guys I hung out with and played alongside. I’ll look to see how they are doing. We are talking about a reunion coming up here. It would be great to see everyone again.