In honor of the National Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2015 inductees,
ASN will profile all 17 new members in advance of the Dec. 8 NFF awards dinner in New York City.
Sean Brewer grew up in a family where his father was a professional football player and his mother, an actress, was Elvis Presley’s first steady girlfriend. One would expect from those genes Brewer might have landed a football scholarship at a major school or become an entertainer. He did neither, but his life turned out just fine.
Today, Brewer is a well-grounded, award-winning Mississippi high school principal, nearly a quarter of a century after starring at Millsaps College, a Division III school. When he received the football shipment from the NFF informing him of his selection to the Hall, Brewer’s school support staff gathered last January in his principal’s office at Rosa Scott High School in Madison, Miss., just to see him open this mysterious box.
“I never thought about the College Football Hall of Fame,” said Brewer, who considered it an honor just to be on the ballot. “I envisioned only the biggest players on the Division I stage being up for those sort of things. It was a big surprise, to be honest with you.”
Brewer’s father, the late Johnny Brewer was a tight end/linebacker at Ole Miss and played on the Cleveland Browns’ 1964 NFL title team. But Sean inherited only a 5-foot-10, 235-pound frame. That resulted partly from the fact, his mother, Anita, stands only 5-foot-2. Few major schools saw Sean as a can’t-miss star, and none offered him a scholarship, even his father’s alma mater, in-state Ole Miss.
“Ole Miss called me, and we had one conversation I can remember, and I went on a recruiting trip there,” Brewer said. “There was not an offer at that time. I went over to Troy State (Division II at the time), and they offered some scholarship money. And I had some junior college situations. But I did not have a four-year school outside of Troy offer me a scholarship.”
Brewer wound up at Division III Millsaps, where he became a tackling machine and a four-time all-conference selection. By the time he was finished, he had rung up 435 career tackles, including 99 unassisted tackles during his senior season. Going into the 2015 season, he remained the school’s career leader in unassisted tackles (332) and career sacks (52).
“For me it was work ethic,” Brewer said. “I was blessed with flexibility and quickness. I really worked hard on strength and strength training. And then I guess I would say being blessed on the mental aspect of the game … I prided myself about 75 percent of the time I knew where the play was going to be.”
His father, then retired from the NFL, actually helped coach him at Millsaps as a volunteer. Brewer said he really didn’t see anything strange with the fact his father was out there. But he sometimes wondered what might have been if he had followed in his footsteps.
“I put that to bed a long, long time ago because it just wasn’t meant to be,” Brewer said. “The Lord had other plans for me. I can’t really ask for a better run than I had. The guys I played against (in high school) who went on and really had big careers (in college and the pros) I felt I certainly did no worse than hold my own.”