Homegrown student is Brown U bound

Cody Young sports Brown apparel at his home earlier this week.
  • While there was never any doubt about Young’s academic potential (he was classified “gifted” along with just eight other TBE students in the mid-2000s), part of his high school football career was laced with frustration.

Come Aug. 22, Cody Young heads for Ivy League territory and Brown University with the dual mission of excelling at academics and football.

“It’s hard to put it into words, how big it is,” said Young, a product of Marco’s Tommie Barfield Elementary School, the Charter Middle School, Lely High School and more recently Palmetto Ridge High School.

Lely? Palmetto Ridge? Therein lies a tale.

While there was never any doubt about Young’s academic potential (he was classified “gifted” along with just eight other Barfield Elementary students in the mid-2000s), part of his high school football career was laced with frustration.

And not because he couldn’t deliver the goods.

His dad, Jim, had always seen potential in his son for being a quarterback, and felt he should have been the Lely starter from around his sophomore year. Instead, he was given minimal playing time.

Young in action for Palmetto Ridge High School.

“Basically, the Lely program wasn’t quarterback friendly,” Jim Young said. “They ran the ball a lot, and we wanted quarterback offense. (Cody) doesn’t want to hand off, he wants to throw. But, high schools decide what they’re going to do, and they put that in the shoe box.”

That precipitated a move to Palmetto Ridge, which was in need of a quarterback, but it represented quite an upheaval for Cody, his dad, and his mom, Vee, who had until then lived on Marco.


As Cody Young wrote in a subsequent application letter to Brown:

“The transfer required my parents to make a 40-minute commute to work (they own Your Island Home on Marco) and move to the appropriate school district. I leave all that is familiar, and enter a school full of strangers. The head coach is welcoming and I make football friends quickly.

“My coaches and team show their respect and reward me with MVP. I feel vindicated for my efforts and now face the rehab journey back to 100 percent. The end of this season is bittersweet as many of my buddies are seniors.”

(Young, now 18, had suffered an ACL injury while with Palmetto Ridge before his senior year, but would completely recover. In fact, he would guide the school to its best record.)

Young ponders the action.

A 6-foot-2, 208-pound right-handed passer, he was the school’s starting quarterback two seasons and in his senior season just gone by, the Bears won a school record eight games and went to the playoffs for the second time in team history.

Young threw for 1,724 yards and 15 touchdowns with eight interceptions last season. He also ran for six scores. As a junior in 2014, Young threw for 1,421 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.


The Brown University opportunity materialized after visits to various Ivy League schools, and an invitation to apply after coaches had viewed a mandatory play-highlight video. Naturally, the impressive 4.3 grade-point average was pretty much equally mandatory.

Young, up against Brown senior and probable Brown QB starter Kyle Moreno, isn’t fazed or intimidated.

“I’m always going to compete,” he said. “This summer I’m going to learn the offense as best I can. (At high school) I’ve been motivated to work out. Quarterbacks typically can be weaker, but I decided to use the weight room to set myself aside.”

On the academic side, which Young clearly regards as the overriding priority, he’ll be doing a multi-disciplinary course known as BEO with engineering in mind. It is described as providing “a rigorous and synergistic program in the study of commercial activity grounded in economics, sociology and engineering. (It) focuses on the formation, growth, and organization of new ventures, innovation in commercial applications, financial markets and the marketplace, and management and organizational theory.”

Mom Vee summed up the family’s journey thus far.

“It’s been a bumpy road,” she said, “but you should always believe that hard work pays off.”

About Brown

Located in historic Providence, Rhode Island, and founded in 1764, Brown University is the seventh-oldest college in the United States. Brown is an independent, coeducational Ivy League institution comprising undergraduate and graduate programs, plus the Alpert Medical School, School of Public Health, School of Engineering, and the School of Professional Studies.