Grier overcame academic struggles to play for Appalachian

Anne Buie

The tale is all too common — a top high school athlete shines on the field but struggles in the classroom.

For some, the end of high school is the end of their athletic livelihood and for others it comes after a short and unsuccessful period in junior college.

But linebacker Brandon Grier did not want either of those options.

During Brandon Grier’s senior football season at West Charlotte High School, Appalachian State Head Coach Jerry Moore approached Grier and told him that he was required to complete a minimum of 16 core courses in order to compete as an NCAA Division I student-athlete.

At the time, Brandon Grier had only taken 12 core courses before his final semester, but rather than accept his fate, he reached out to his family for help.

“I let my parents know about everything that was going on,” Brandon Grier said. “My parents and my brothers are my biggest support system.”

Faced with the possibility of his son not competing at the next level, Brandon Grier’s father Bobby Grier took action and asked the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system for help and found an excellent group of tutors for Brandon.

“I visited his school often to see how Brandon was doing,” Bobby Grier said. “He struggled a lot but he worked hard to get it done.”

Brandon Grier needed to take four core classes in order to receive a traditional diploma, so he decided to take the required English, foreign language and science classes in his final semester.

“My parents did everything in their power to help me,” Brandon Grier said. “They got me tutors. They did the work with me. They were right there, every step of the way. I can count on my parents for anything.”

Brandon Grier said he pulled many late nights during his final semester but by the end of the school year he had completed enough core classes to graduate.

“I was extremely motivated to get here,” Brandon Grier said. “I just felt like I needed to be here at Appalachian State.”

Brandon Grier is set to graduate in December.

“We are hoping that he gets a shot at the NFL.” Bobby Grier said.

But regardless of what happens with the NFL, Bobby Grier said he knows seeing Brandon Grier receive a college diploma will be one of the most rewarding moments of his life.

“We are all extremely proud of Brandon [Grier],” Bobby Grier said. “He has worked so hard in the classroom and I really couldn’t ask anything more of him. He really showed me something.”

Story: CHASE ERICKSON, Intern Sports Reporter