A 2nd shot at college ball

By Jamie Bowen

Football players at the U normally start their college career at 18, but not Geremy Cloyd.

He is starting his at 308212;but it’s better late than never. Cloyd, an undecided freshman from Kansas, has returned from a 12-year stint with the Marines that took him from the sunny California coast to the White House, to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing college football.

“I’m just here to play football, not get a degree,” he said.

Cloyd came from the small town of Goodland, Kansas, where he grew up working on the family farm and playing football.

“I played in high school,” he said. “I thought I was good enough, but the scouts didn’t think so.”

Cloyd didn’t get the scholarship offers he wanted out of high school, so he joined the Marines because he thought they were the toughest team he could join, he said.

When he entered the Marines, he was sent to boot camp and then stationed in Washington D.C. He served in the White House Military Office for two years providing military support for former President Bill Clinton.

In the White House, conditions were very different than anywhere else Marines serve, he said.

“Everywhere else, I lived in the dirt,” he said. “You didn’t even ever think about a shower.” In Washington, D.C., Cloyd had to go to etiquette school and get three haircuts a week so he could look good for the president. He also had to get his uniform dry-cleaned on a daily basis, he said.

For the next seven years, he was stationed in California in Camp Pendleton and Twentynine Palms, home of the world’s largest Marine Corps base, before he was transferred to Fort Douglas in Utah.

After his third four-year tour, Cloyd got out of the Marines to give college football a second shot. He decided to try out for the Utah football team.

But he was released in March 2009, barely missing spring tryouts. He’s been working with a trainer ever since to get faster and keep his 6-foot 225-pound body in shape, with plans to try out this coming February.

“I’m a little old and a little rusty, but I’m in shape,” he said.

David Radcliffe, 42, is one of Cloyd’s close friends and business partners. They met while serving in the Marines for three years together. When Cloyd arrived in Salt Lake City, they bought the fourth-oldest tavern in the city, Willie’s Lounge, with money Cloyd won in Las Vegas during his transfer between California and Utah.

“He is the toughest guy I’ve ever met, physically and mentally,” Radcliffe said.
Cloyd has a lot of injuries from his time in the Marines. He’s had three separate knee surgeries8212;the last one was in July 2008.

“His body is pretty beat up,” Radcliffe said. “Even what he is doing is crazy.”
Carolan Ownby, a professor of undergraduate studies, teaches about achieving dreams in her class. When she first met Cloyd this semester and learned of his dream to play football, she was very impressed.

“He was very honest,” Ownby said. “He said, “I will do everything I can do.’ He is good to his word.”

Although Cloyd said his parents don’t agree with his decision, he still keeps on going toward his dream.

“I’m a little tougher and smarter, so maybe I can make the football team,” he said. “If I can’t get on, I can always transfer to Utah State.”

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Mike Mangum

After 12 years in the Marines, 30-year-old undecided freshman Geremy Cloyd said he does not feel he is too old to play football. He?s training for tryouts in February.