LaBrendo Flowers knew he wanted to play college football.
But even more, he wanted to attend an HBCU (historically black college and university), specifically Grambling State University.
Fortunately for Flowers, he will get to do both as he has signed to be a preferred walk-on for the Tigers.
Flowers’ first offer came from Howard Payne on Dec. 2, 2021. He ended up with eight offers before the ninth one came from Grambling.
“It was a long process,” Flowers said. “I actually didn’t get any offers until after the season. And then I ended up getting offers, but none of them were HBCUs like I wanted. Regardless of me playing or not, I knew I was going to an HBCU, and it was probably going to be Grambling, as well. The fact that Grambling offered me this late, and they saw something in me, it’s a blessing.”
Grambling has a lot of significance to Flowers, who recently graduated from Tyler Legacy High School. His mother, Dorothy Jackson, went to Grambling. His aunts and cousins also went to Grambling.
“Grambling has been in the family,” Flowers said. And it’s an HBCU. It just checks all of the boxes.
“One of my points of emphasis that I wanted to put on myself, ever since I was in the eighth grade was that I wanted to go to an HBCU, any HBCU. But the fact that it’s Grambling that reached out, it’s just surreal.”
Flowers was surrounded by friends and family on Thursday as he signed inside the Tyler Legacy theater.
“I’m just so happy,” Jackson said. “I went to Grambling, so I wanted him to go there, but I also wanted him to make his decision. When they offered him a preferred walk-on spot, and he decided that’s where he wanted to go, I was excited.”
As a junior, Flowers wasn’t a starter early in the season and only had 15 tackles through the first seven games and none in the first three district games. But then after an injury to teammate Josh Olivares, Flowers moved into a starting role at linebacker for the North Mesquite game and recorded 14 tackles. That performance earned him Tyler Morning Telegraph Player of the Week honors for that week.
Flowers finished the season with 52 tackles.
“He stuck to the process,” Legacy head football coach Joe Willis said. “He trusted and believed in what he was doing and the amount of work he was putting in. He was definitely ready when his number was called.”
As a senior, Flowers had 83 tackles with six sacks, four tackles for loss, six quarterback pressures, four pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
“They’re getting a great, high character individualWillis said. “He’s a guy who was a team captain for us. He was a great leader on the field and in the locker room both, and he’s a guy that plays with great passion. He really loves the game of football, and it really shows in the way he plays.”
Flowers was also the homecoming king of his high school class.
Flowers will join a Grambling program that has hired former NFL head coach Hue Jackson to be its new head coach.
“I’m excited to be a part of the HBCU wave with Deion Sanders (at Jackson State) and Hue Jackson, just those type of people making the change and putting the spotlight on HBCUs.”
Flowers said he plans to major in communications. What he plans to do for a career, though, is still up in the air.
“Honestly, I wish I knew,” he said. “I know I like talking to people, making money and helping people.”
Whatever he does, it’s a safe bet based on his track record that he’s going to do it to the best of his ability and with a smile.