Calloway: has unfinished business at Alabama
Redemption. Unfinished business. These are terms that would describe the mindset of former Russellville star and Alabama Crimson Tide football player Brent Calloway. The story is well-documented. The former Army All-American first committed to the University of Alabama in June 2009 before his junior year at Russellville High School. Then after being committed for over a year, de-committed and pledged to in-state rival Auburn on national television at the Army All-American game. The roller coaster ride ended on signing day when Calloway faxed his letter of intent and followed his heart to the University of Alabama. But the journey was just beginning and still must be completed.
Like most elite college prospects, Brent Calloway thought he had it all planned out after he signed with the University of Alabama. He would be living the life. Playing for the best coach and program in college football. Going to class, football and living the life of an elite college athlete. And he was. Two National Championship rings. An SEC title. Finally settling in to the position that could get him on the field as a starter according to former wide receivers coach Mike Groh, now of the Chicago Bears. After redshirting in 2011 and shuffling between linebacker, running back and H-Back, the opportunity to earn a starting job was there as spring practice beckoned in 2013. Gone at H-Back over the previous two seasons were Brad Smelley, Chris Underwood and Kelly Johnson. Plus returning fullback/H-Back Jalston Fowler was still recovering from a major knee injury suffered during week two of the 2012 season and would be very limited in spring football. But something was amiss and it all went wrong in on Feb. 11, 2013.
Freshman linebacker Tyler Hayes, 18, redshirt freshman safety Eddie Williams, 20, and redshirt freshman defensive end D.J. Pettway, 20, were each charged with two counts of second-degree robbery while Calloway 20, was charged with one count of fraudulent use of a credit card.
Williams, who was also charged with fraudulent use of a credit card, was arrested one day earlier on a separate gun charge.
According to arrest warrants, Pettway, Williams and Hayes attacked and robbed two UA students in two separate incidents. The trio came away with a laptop, cash, a UA student action card and various credit and debit cards. Calloway and Williams each used the action card to purchase snacks from a Bryant Hall vending machine.
Hayes and Williams confessed to the robberies and Calloway confessed to using the card with knowledge that it had been stolen.
Soon after, all four were dismissed from the program and Calloway, admittedly, has never been the same since that fateful day he made a decision that forever changed his life.
“You get caught up in the life. Playing football, going to class and being a college athlete,” said Calloway. “I just got caught up in the moment and made some bad decisions I regret.
“I am deeply sorry for everything I did, especially when I set back and think about the choices I made,” he admitted. “When I was told they (Alabama) were going to have to let me go, it took the breath out of me!”
Everything began to go off track for Calloway when he did not play and sat the 2011 season as a redshirt. He had a very hard time adjusting from being the focal point at Russellville High School to not playing at Alabama.
“When I redshirted my freshman year, i started to lose my ambition, Calloway admitted. “I now know where I need to keep things I want where they need to be.
“I am truly ready and have a completely different mindset.”
The next step in his journey was trying to re-start career at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Arizona. The alma mater of two-time national champion and Crimson Tide cult hero defensive lineman Jesse Williams. He returned to his high school roots as a running back and had some early success, but, in truth, his heart was not in it. He yearned to be back in Tuscaloosa.
“The offseason conditioning, the weight training was not nearly what I had experienced at Alabama,” the former Russellville star said. “You go from playing in front of 100,000 people to 200.”
“I could not even get pumped up for the games,” he continued. “It was just so hard to adjust. My mindset was not right.”
After leaving Arizona Western prior to the end of the season last year, the furthest thing from Calloway’s mind was football.
“I could not even watch the games,” Calloway revealed. “Everywhere i would go, people would ask ‘Did you see that game?’, and I would always say no.
“It was just too hard and I could not watch and put myself through it.”
During this time away from football, the former Golden Tigers star had the humbling experience as a surrogate father to his former girlfriend Lo’Rena’s newborn son. He was with her when the child was born and helped raise it for the first four months of his life.
“It definitely helped mature me, Calloway said. “When she had the baby, I was there and fed him, bathed him and washed cloths. It opened my eyes and humbled me.”
Meanwhile, his former teammate and roommate D.J. Pettway took the long road back, as after his dismissal, he enrolled at East Mississippi Junior College and earned All-American honors with 11.5 sacks and helped lead his team to a National Championship before resigning with Alabama. Calloway is very happy for his close friend.
“One thing I do know, I’m so proud of D.J. Pettway, my roommate. He did what he had to do and stayed focused,” Calloway explained. “I hope to have the same opportunity because I know how he felt.
If he can get back, I hope I can follow in those footsteps because I’m truly ready and my mindset is totally different,” he proclaimed. “I just want to be around the players and the program I love to be around.”
Calloway vows he has become a different person and realizes he cannot repeat the same mistakes again if has any hope of finishing his dream.
“I have been through a lot. I did not even realize football could be my ticket until my 10th grade year at Russellville,” Calloway stated. “I sat out as a freshman (9th grade) and then my career took off, but then one stupid decision took it all away.
I am hoping after all I have been through, all of this can be a stepping stone and I can return to where my heart is,” he continued. “I still love Alabama.”
From a physical standpoint, he is currently in the best shape of his life as Calloway is currently 6’3 1/2 237 pounds as he trains daily in his hometown of Russellville.
As of this time, the redshirt junior is working towards fall eligibility as he is currently taking 4 on-line classes and has a target date of June to be officially caught up academically. He has A’s and B’s and has received inquires from a few SEC schools and UNA and has two years to play two.
After his academic work and eligibility are finalized, Calloway hopes to meet with Saban and determine if he can ultimately return to the program he longs to be a part of. He still holds his former head coach and the football team in the highest regards.
“Nick Saban is the best coach I have ever been around,” Calloway detailed. “He has great character and great morals.
“He taught us right from wrong, and what happened to me does not reflect on the tradition and program. I hope to finish what I started at Alabama.”
Calloway still hopes to return to the Capstone
Brent Calloway’s bio at Alabama:
2012 (REDSHIRT FRESHMAN): Has appeared in 12 games, on special teams and in the backfield … had one reception in the win against Mississippi … has totaled eight special teams tackles … has rushed the ball 10 times for 63 yards. Missouri: Totaled two special teams tackles … named a special teams player of the week by the Alabama coaching staff. Western Carolina: Named one of the special teams players of the week by the Alabama coaching staff … rushed a season-high seven times for 52 yards … also registered three tackles, including two solo stops. Auburn: Assisted on one special teams tackle.
2011 (REDSHIRT): Was redshirted his freshman year.
HIGH SCHOOL AND PERSONAL DATA: Calloway came to the Captsone as one of the nation’s most explosive and versatile athletes … a consensus four-star prospect who joined the Crimson Tide as a running back after an outstanding senior season that saw him run for 1,974 yards and 29 touchdowns … participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl … the No. 1 prospect in the state according to Rivals.com and the nation’s No. 38 overall prospect … No. 140 in the ESPNU 150 and No. 4 on The Birmingham News Super Senior list … Rivals.com ranked Calloway as the nation’s No. 5 outside linebacker while Scout.com has him at No. 7 … ESPNU listed him 23rd as an athlete … 2010 ASWA Super 12 selection … Tom Lemming’s No. 3 outside linebacker and No. 81 overall prospect nationally … No. 2 athlete nationally, No. 47 overall prospect and an All-American by SuperPrep … ranked as the No. 2 player in Alabama by SuperPrep … No. 22 on the Mobile Press-Register’s Super Southeast 120 and No. 1 on the newspaper’s Elite 18 … had nine tackles at linebacker in the Alabama/Mississippi All-Star Game … two-time first-team ASWA 5A All-State choice and was the 2010 5A Back of the Year … rushed for more than 1,600 yards as a junior with 32 touchdowns … also recorded more than 100 tackles on defense with 22 sacks … as a sophomore in 2008, Calloway carried the ball 236 times for 1,460 yards with 23 scores while making 25 tackles and two sacks on defense … chose the Crimson Tide over Auburn, Southern California, Tennessee, LSU and Mississippi State.
Calloway in practice at Alabama: