How a Mormon kid from Utah ended up playing football at Florida A&M
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Perhaps it would make a great trivia question one day.
Name the only athlete from Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah, to earn a football scholarship and play wide receiver at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee, Fla.
The answer, at least for now, is Casey Glines.
Glines and his wife, Carol, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, left their apartment at Ephraim’s Snow College and moved across the country a few weeks before fall camp. There was something exhilarating about the idea, she said.
“We could have gone up to Utah State and Florida is so far away,” Carol Glines said. “We went for the adventure of it.”
They have had to adjust to a new team, schedules, schoolwork and surroundings, but the Glineses are happy.
“We went into this blind, but this is what we need to be doing,” Casey Glines said. “I’ve learned you keep going, regardless of how bad things may seem. You always strive to do better, to do the best you can with what you can.”
Getting to FAMU
As young man at Union High, Glines was a three-time letterman and all-state athlete.
He leaned toward basketball as his favorite sport, and at 6-foot-6, he drew interest from the University of Alaska-Anchorage before deciding to serve an LDS mission in North Carolina.
But when he returned, a friend talked him into trying football at Snow College.
“I said, ‘Why not?’” Glines said.
As a towering athlete with sure hands, he developed into a reliable receiver for the Badgers. In two years he caught 34 passes for 506 yards and three touchdowns.
As his junior college career drew to a close, Utah State coaches invited him to bulk up and walk on, but it didn’t work out. Glines thought his football career was over.
During spring break, however, he received a call from Florida A&M offensive coordinator Quinn Gray, who had somehow managed to see Glines’ game highlights.
“What would it take to get you to come here?” Gray said.
“Pay for school,” Glines said, “and I will come.”
Glines had observed closely when his older sister played volleyball at Western Wyoming before accepting an offer to compete at Alaska-Anchorage.
“She learned a lot and I could tell it was a really good experience for her,” Glines said. “So when I had a similar opportunity with Florida A&M, I thought it would be a good learning experience.”
Casey married Carol Brown in the Manti Temple in July 2012. Although she had lived her entire life in Ephraim, Utah, she agreed with her husband.
“I was in it for an adventure,” she said. “My poor mother has missed me so much, but it’s only two years. I can do anything if I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The Florida adventure started on a sour note.
For two weeks all the couple had in their new place was a blow-up mattress, Casey’s PlayStation, a small TV and a few other items. For whatever reason, the moving trucks had been delayed. It was a frustrating few weeks, Glines said.
“They took their sweet time,” he said.
Anticipating that life would only become more chaotic once football and school were in full swing, Casey and Carol decided they needed to go to the temple. It was easy in Ephraim with the Manti Temple only 10 minutes away. But the nearest temple to them now was in Orlando — a four-hour drive. But it was worth the trip, they said.
“That temple trip was special because we both really needed peace in our lives at that time,” Carol said. “It was a real comfort having some familiarity of the temple in a place that is so vastly different than what we are used to. Whether it’s in Manti or Orlando, the temple feels like home.”
“We were far from home in a new place and we looked at each other like, ‘Wow, what did we get ourselves into?’” Casey said. “But after the temple visit I felt more calm. When we came back our stuff had finally arrived. Carol found a job and I started football. Since then our lives have been crazy busy and we haven’t looked back.”
Florida A&M is a traditionally black college in Tallahassee. The football program is in the Football Championship Subdivision classification and plays in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Its mascot is the “Rattlers.”
So far this season the team is 1-4, including a discouraging 76-0 loss at Ohio State.
Glines, No. 9, has played in all five games, catching three passes for 22 yards and one touchdown. He feels like he is fitting in.
“In football you meet all kinds of people from all walks of life,” he said. “Coming down here has been unique, but it’s also been good. The guys treat me like one of them. You have that bond of playing football.”
Carol finds it interesting to sit in the stands and listen to the comments by those around her who aren’t aware of her connection to Casey. But once they find out she has a husband on the team, it doesn’t take them long to figure it out who he is.
“It’s all positive. They all say to throw the fade to No. 9. Don’t you see that he’s 6-foot-6?” she said. “The FAMU fans have high hopes for Casey and see him as a guy who can score touchdowns.”
There is only one other married player on the team, and Carol said her husband is sometimes looked at "like he is crazy."
“The whole mindset of marriage is different here," she said.
The Glines are building friendships despite differences. As players have learned that Casey is a Mormon, they have reacted positively, he said. Some are content to know he believes in Christ. Others have asked deeper questions. He tries to keep the answers simple.
“People look at us,” Carol said. “We are trying to be good examples.”
Casey will soon have more opportunities to teach the gospel. He was recently called to leave his position as nursery leader and become the second counselor in his LDS ward’s elders quorum.
The adventure continues, he said.
“As a small-town kid from Utah, I didn’t expect anything like this to happen. I played sports for fun, something to do to stay active,” Glines said. “You never know where life might take you.”
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