MOUNT VERNON – In the beginning, there was Jeremy Demlow. He begat Myron Seabrook, who begat Martin Arispe.
The trio decided, for some strange reason, to travel all the way across the country from their homes in Oceanside, Calif., to Mount Vernon, Iowa, for their college football careers. They gave up the beaches, the year-around warm temperatures, their family and friends to come to Cornell, a small-town school where they take one course at a time.
Instead of the nearby San Diego Chargers, they’ve got the Cedar Rapids Titans. Instead of wearing flip flops to class in January, they wear parkas.
Kind of crazy.
“You definitely have to get used to it,” Seabrook said. “I’d never really seen a true winter before, so the first snowfall was amazing. I love the season changes, love all that. It just takes getting used to. Bottom line is I’m glad I’m here.”
All three of them seem glad they’re here.
They played together at Vista High School, a successful Southern California program. Demlow, a senior linebacker and three-year starter, was the first to decide Cornell was the place for him.
He was intent on going to a junior-college program somewhere, but Cornell Coach Vince Brautigam was persistent.
“Cornell came to my school and recruited two or three of us,” Demlow said. “They kept calling me and calling me. I was like ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s Iowa. I’m not going to come out there.’ But they really got me into it, I came out for a visit, and it was different. It was cold, not snowy like my first year here. That was terrible. But now we’ve had a couple of mild winters, and I’ve adjusted to that.”
Demlow was buddies with Seabrook, a junior defensive back, and helped sell him on the merits of life in Iowa. The promise of immediate playing time was key, too.
“Jeremy is definitely the reason we’re here,” said Seabrook, a three-year starter at corner. “He came here first and pretty much recruited me. He told me it was a great school, a program they were rebuilding. I wanted to be a part of that.”
Arispe is Seabrook’s age and began his college career at Division II Humboldt State in California. That wasn’t going so well, so he listened when Seabrook gave him a sales pitch about Cornell.
The sophomore wide receiver transferred in the spring of 2012, despite never having stepped foot on campus.
“My first impression, looking out the airplane window that first day, was cornfields,” Arispe said. ”I was a little shocked by that. It’s been a cultural shock for me. Back home, it’s more of a relaxed type of vibe, while here it’s country. It’s a small town. But people here, I’ve noticed, are a lot nicer in a general sense than back home.”
Things are going well. The boys are getting good educations and are part of a Cornell team that is 2-1 going into its homecoming game Saturday afternoon at 2 against Beloit.
That includes a 2-0 record in the Midwest Conference.
“It’s no hidden secret. I go all over to try and find kids,” Brautigam said. ”Basically what happens is you make connections with coaching friends, buddies you stay in touch with. They turned us on to some schools in California and we started recruiting them. Once you get one, you get a couple and you kind of get the pipeline going.”
In truth, Alex Macey was the first Vista kid to play football at Cornell but he graduated in 2009 and had nothing to do with the current Oceanside trio. It’ll be interesting to see if Brautigam can continue to mine the school for more talent in the future.
“You miss your family, you miss your friends, you miss the weather,” Demlow said. “But for the most part, it has been a great experience here.”
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