MHSA(Q&)A: Detroit Lions rookie Chris Greenwood
May 25, 2012
By Brian Spencer
Five years ago, Chris Greenwood was No. 28 for the Detroit Martin Luther King football team, a key contributor for a Crusaders as they finished 7-3 and made the playoffs.
These days, he's a national sports story.
Greenwood, a 6-foot-1, 193-pound cornerback, is attempting the rare jump from Division III college football to the NFL. A standout at Albion College, he was selected in the fifth round of last month's NFL draft by the Detroit Lions.
His round-trip travels from his hometown and back again also included a stop at Northwood University. Greenwood played his final three college seasons for the Britons, last fall being named the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year.
What is your favorite high school memory?
Winning the city championship senior year at Ford Field.
Were there any life/football lessons that you learned in high school that you’ve carried with you through college and now to the league?
Work hard; don’t let anything distract you. You are capable of doing anything that you put your mind to, and then some.
What is the biggest transition you’ve seen from DIII football at Albion to the Lions?
The talent difference I’ve had to get acclimated to, as well as technique. Technique has a much heavier emphasis now. I’ve also noticed a difference in speed and different terminology. For example, simple names for coverages have changed.
If you could trade places with anyone in the world right now, who would it be?
Nobody! I feel like I am in the best position possible. I’m living the dream.
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes who want to make the jump from high school to college? College to professional?
Never give up. Don’t ever quit. Don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something. If you work hard and have the ability, they will find you.
What wide receiver tested you most to get to where you are at today?
My older brother (Doug Greenwood); growing up he was always stronger. We used to play, just him and I. He was pretty good. I had to figure out what way I was going to cover him because he was that much faster and stronger. This all took place just in the backyard or the park.
Would you say that your past at a Division III college has helped or hurt you more in the transition from college to professional ball?
It didn’t hurt, as far as what I have to do and what I’m doing now (in practice or off the field), but I feel like it affected my draft position. I could have gotten more exposure at bigger schools. At this point none of that matters; I’m glad to be where I am. Very happy.
Who was your favorite football player growing up?
Charles Woodson (former University of Michigan and current Green Bay Packers cornerback)
Is Donald Driver (Packers WR) more or less intimidating now that he has won "Dancing with the Stars?" If asked, would you be on "Dancing with the Stars?"
No way, he is not more intimidating because of that. If I were asked to do that, I wouldn’t right now. Maybe later on in my career I would do that, but right now I've got to stay focused.
PHOTOS courtesy of Albion College. Note about the interviewer: Brian Spencer is an MHSAA intern this summer, and was an Albion College football teammate of Greenwood's the last three seasons.
For Their Teams, For Each Other, St. Mary Seniors Team Up 2 More Times
By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com
March 17, 2023
Shawn Bramer and Dylan Barnowski, as middle schoolers, attended the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals every year.
Last year, they nearly played in the Division 3 title game – falling in a Semifinal but almost making a dream come true for the then-juniors and their Lake Leelanau St. Mary coach, Matt Barnowski, also Dylan’s father.
That dream began for some when the boys were coached by Matt as third graders, and they made serious strides last season. Before last winter, the last time the Eagles had won a Regional championship was 1950 – and no St. Mary boys basketball team had reached the Semifinals. Bramer and Dylan Barnowski – along with current seniors Jack Glynn, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar – had high hopes of making more history this winter.
The dream ended Wednesday night with a Regional Final loss to Frankfort, which St. Mary had defeated 54-41 during the regular season. This time, the Eagles were faced with a large number of K-12 students succumbing to illness – with all five of its starters at least somewhat sick – as nearly a third of the school’s tiny enrollment was out of school the day after the loss to the Panthers.
But you won’t hear any of the players or coaches making excuses. They give all the credit to Frankfort, and they’re ready to move on. And many in the LSM family know reaching the Regional Finals this season and Breslin Center in 2022 had absolutely no probability had Bramer and Barnowski not made an iron-clad agreement last summer.
The two friends vowed to help each other despite their personal, opposing challenges.
Barnowski and Bramer, through LSM’s cooperative agreement with Suttons Bay, went 3-for-3 playing in 8-Player Division 1 Football Finals during their first three years of high school. But through last summer Barnowski, who quarterbacked the Norseman, had no interest in football.
Bramer, meanwhile, had been nursing a quad tendon injury since his sophomore football season and battling two bad knees but was thinking he could suffer though football and sit out the basketball season to recover. The all-state running back experienced training difficulties and even had his strength training severely hampered.
Football was king for Bramer, and he also loved basketball too. Basketball is number one to Barnowski. The longtime friends decided cut a deal to help each other — and their teammates — out.
“I was kind of on the edge,” said Bramer, who plays with braces on both knees. “After talking to each other, we both ended up just playing.
“I really shouldn’t be playing sports, but I couldn’t miss out playing with my friends,” he continued. “We just figured it was our last season so we might as well just do it.”
Barnowski had been considering ending his football days immediately after the Norse fell short in their third-straight trip to the Finals, at Superior Dome in Marquette in Fall 2021. That loss was at the hands of Adrian Lenawee Christian 31-20.
The Norseman graduated most of their offensive and defense lines last spring and expected to be small in numbers. Until this fall, they had lost only one regular-season game on their way to three straight title game appearances. This year they finished 3-5.
The big linemen losses — Barnowski’s protection — was forcing him to weigh his injury risk against having a senior basketball season.
“We did it for each other,” Barnowski said. “I talked with Shawn, and we knew we had a big community behind us and it would be hard for them if we just quit.
“I knew we weren’t going to have the same powerhouse team we had,” he continued. “We weren’t very good this year, but we still had a blast.”
This week’s loss put an end to the possible Breslin championship finish, but it left the friends happy with the decision to play both sports. The Eagles finished 20-4.
Barnowski led St. Mary in scoring. He averaged better than 20 points a game with more than seven rebounds and five assists. Bramer averaged just under 15 points per game, and almost 10 rebounds.
The two big men each scored 11 in the season-ending loss. Thompson scored 14. This year’s senior-dominated team likely will be remembered for its basketball success for some time. Barnowski, Bramer and Glynn experienced only one loss in District play over their four seasons.
“It’s a really special groups of kids,” Coach Barnowski said. “These kids kind of transformed St. Mary’s basketball.
“They’ve really built the program,” he continued. “It’s been a roller coaster ride.”
Bramer and Dylan Barnowski also played baseball in the past for the Eagles, but that likely won’t happen this spring. Barnowski plans to golf, and Bramer expects to sit the spring season out and heal.
“We’ll never forget these last four years of varsity we played,” Barnowski said. “I‘ve decided to go a more relaxing route, and I’m going for some golf.”
With their Breslin dream over, the friends are ready to enjoy the St. Mary’s community support and move on. They’re bummed so many were sick in the end but won’t use it as an excuse.
“Hats off to Frankfort,” Barnowski said. “They did an incredible job of shutting us down.”
“They just played their game better than we did,” he said. “They took the lead at the end of the third quarter, and it was a battle from there.”
Tom Spencer is a longtime MHSAA-registered basketball and soccer official, and former softball and baseball official, and he also has coached in the northern Lower Peninsula area. He previously has written for the Saginaw News, Bay County Sports Page and Midland Daily News. He can be reached at email@example.com with story ideas for Manistee, Wexford, Missaukee, Roscommon, Ogemaw, Iosco, Alcona, Oscoda, Crawford, Kalkaska, Grand Traverse, Benzie, Leelanau, Antrim, Otsego, Montmorency, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan, Charlevoix and Emmet counties.
PHOTOS (Top) St. Mary’s seniors Dylan Barnowski, left, and Shawn Bramer hold up the team’s District championship trophy last week. (2) Eagles coach Matt Barnowski, center, and assistant Sander Scott coach up their team during last week’s Regional Semifinal win over Mesick. (3) Dylan Barnowski and Bramer also teamed up during successful football careers. (4) St. Mary’s seniors, from left: Shawn Bramer, Jack Glynn, Dylan Barnowski, Drew Thompson and Nick Linguar. (Sideline photo by Tom Spencer; player photos by Emmerson Lamb Photography.)