Interview by Lindsay Harper (Summit HS/UTChattanooga)
Sports Photography by: JB Brookman (CLOUT/Seniority Photography)
COVER STORY: LB SPENCER RICH
[We interviewed Spencer, half way through his Senior Year at Brentwood… little did we know that the Bruins would make a magical run to the 6A District Title… survive a playoff game where over 30 of their players were out in COVID quarantine, weather injuries to their All-District QB and WR, beat Indy on a SportsCenter last-second play and beat Bartlett in Memphis to go to State. Spencer would win tons of hardware, including being named the District Defensive Player of the Year. Spencer signed with Memphis a few days after State and is part of a coveted Freshman class that some consider the best recruiting class in Memphis history.]
CLOUT: Have you played football at Brentwood High school all 4 years? Did you play in middle school? Younger rec teams?
“Yes, I played all four years at BHS and I played at Brentwood Middle School…I played one year with Brentwood Blaze in 6th grade and before that I just played flag football in elementary school…”
CLOUT: How has the coaching staff at Brentwood shaped you into the player you are today?
“They have given me amazing examples and have shown me how to be a competitor and how to be a hard worker.”
CLOUT: What position do you consistently play, and what is your favorite position?
“I played linebacker up until sophomore year. I switched to tight end and defensive end my junior year. Then, I switched back my Senior year to linebacker. Linebacker is my favorite spot to line up, because I get to make plays and have a lot of contact.”
CLOUT: What is one thing in your sport that you really had to work hard at to achieve?
“I had to work super hard to get as strong and as fast as I am. I was 160 lbs as a freshman and started my senior year at 220 (pounds).”
CLOUT: Did you grow up in a family where football was encouraged, or did you stumble across it, in your own way?
“Football was encouraged, but never forced. I never expected to play at the next level, until after my junior year… when I thought to myself- “I can do that!”.”
CLOUT: Who would you say your biggest supporter is on and off the field, and why?
“My parents are. They have my back on and off the field.”
CLOUT: What motivates you every day?
“I am motivated by others, working hard and succeeding…”
CLOUT: How have your teammates helped you grow as a person and an athlete?
“They have pushed me to be the best I can be. They have showed me what it means to buy into a program and a culture and what a brotherhood is really like and I appreciate that.”
CLOUT: In what ways do your teammates encourage you while playing, and through day-to-day life?
“While playing, my team mates pick my head up and help me get through tough plays and gas me up on good plays.”
CLOUT: Do you want to go to college to play football?
CLOUT: Are you looking at colleges yet? If so which ones?
“I am continuing my career at University of Memphis.”
CLOUT: After college do you have dreams to expand your football career?
“If that is a possibility… yes.”
CLOUT: What advice would you give a young kid who hopes to follow in your footsteps?
“To start getting to work and not let anyone in the room, work harder than you…”
[Part 2 of the Interview, given in June 2021]
CLOUT: What was the wild ride to State like? Were there any moments from the Playoffs that stood out to you?
“Getting to State and pushing through all the obstacles along the way, was a crazy experience… All of us Seniors had done so much and had been pushing towards that goal since we were Freshman. Every year, our Group Me (private team chat group) is “STATE (then the year of the season)” and our team was the first one successful since 2002. It was awesome to be apart of such an incredible team and environment. The moment that stood out to me the most in the playoffs, was the first game against Cane Ridge- when I was one of 34 players out due to COVID rules. To be on the sideline and out of control of the game, hurt so bad… but watching the team and young guys stepping in and making plays, leading to the 45-13 win, felt so good.”
CLOUT: What have the 1st few months at (at the University of) Memphis been like?
“Being in a college program is a lot different than high school. The workouts and physical and mental tests they put us through every day are super tough, but, it’s that part that I love the most about it. It definitely feels good to be a part of a team atmosphere again!”
CLOUT: You are part of a super hyped Freshman recruiting class… What has the feeling with your fellow 1st year guys been like?
“It’s awesome being a part of such a good football program. Being amongst so many great athletes is a great feeling. I feel myself pushing harder than I have before, just because of the people around me and the work ethic they have.”
CLOUT: Coach Ron Crawford recently left Brentwood to take on a great role at Christian Brothers. What has Coach Crawford meant to you?
“Coach Crawford was/is a huge inspiration to me. His energy is so infectious and he has the brightest spirit. It hurts me to see him leave Brentwood, but I know how big of an impact he is going to make on Christian Brothers and the student athletes there. You never have a dull moment around him, whether it was in school or practice. That’s how you know he has a crazy passion about football and loves what he does. I strive to be like Coach Crawford and I’m glad I can say, I spent 4 years building a relationship with him and learning from him.”