ST. CHARLES – Peyton Brown has long aspired to join the coaching ranks.
Brown, a former St. Charles North quarterback and 2019 graduate, is getting to do so for the program in which he was a player for four years.
In addition to playing for College of DuPage, Brown is serving as the sophomore-level offensive coordinator for his alma mater.
"I love coaching. I love the sport, and I get to learn how to coach under one of the best staffs in the state," Brown said.
"It's a great experience," Brown continued. "There's no other program that I want to be a part of than North. We've got a really good system, amazing coaches on the staff that are great for the kids. All the kids love being in the program, and I want to be a part of that, too."
It's been interesting for varsity head coach Rob Pomazak to watch Brown's relationships with players shift from being a former teammate – and in some cases, lifelong friends – to being a coach.
"It's always great to get young men who have been in the program. ... He already understands, from a player's perspective, what it is to be a North Star," Pomazak said. "Having a [guy] like Peyton, so intelligent and driven, it's really a luxury."
Brown's varsity career faced difficult challenges, with season-ending injuries in his junior and senior years. He suffered a labrum injury in his throwing shoulder as a junior during that summer, ending that season before it began.
Brown suffered a knee injury during Week 1 of his senior season. His younger brother, Kyler, went on to lead the North Stars to the Class 7A championship game.
Last November, Brown suffered a third season-ending injury – another shoulder dislocation – and he had surgery in December. Since then, he has added 45 pounds of muscle.
"It took me quite awhile to think about [if my body is right for football]," Brown said. "I knew I wanted to play. My want has never left. It's just I don't know if my body can handle it. ... [I said] this is it. I am going to play. I'm going to totally transform my body. I'm going to get in the weight room ... and I'm going to give myself the best chance to play next season and be as healthy as possible."
Batavia's Jackson Heeringa commits to Northern Iowa
Batavia offensive lineman Jackson Heeringa announced a verbal commitment to Northern Iowa University on July 24.
Heeringa, a 6-foot-8, 270-pound senior, chose the Panthers. The announcement was made by the Batavia Football Twitter account.
Heeringa had a number of offers, including Fordham, Notre Dame College in Ohio, Bryant University and Grand Valley State.
"The thing that sold me the most is really the success rate with the offensive line and that I would be welcomed there. [Hopefully], I'd have great success there," Heeringa said.
Heeringa is likely to redshirt as a freshman.
He received his offer from Northern Iowa on July 7.
"I was really having a good connection with the offensive line coach [Ryan] Clanton," Heeringa said. "I saw they had a great O-line culture and I just thought it was a great place for me."
Northern Iowa is a Division I program that went 10-5 last season and 6-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Panthers lost in the FCS Quarterfinals to James Madison.