As commuters enter downtown Kansas City from the north, they are greeted with a billboard of O’Hara High School senior quarterback Michael Briggs. The advertisement — which reads “Sidelined (to) Starter” — is a promotion for Children’s Mercy Hospital.
During his junior season on the baseball field last spring, Briggs suffered an ankle injury as he rounded second base that rendered him unable to walk. In fact, Children’s Mercy doctors told him it was among the worst ankle sprains they had ever treated.
But only 11 days later — after grueling rehab sessions at the hospital’s Center for Sports Medicine — Briggs returned to the field for an Elite 11 quarterback camp.
As of Wednesday, the advertisement could feature another chapter.
Sidelined to starter … to college signee.
Briggs signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to attend Missouri State under first-year coach Dave Steckel, the former Missouri defensive coordinator.
“I worked really hard to get back on the field because this is something I wanted to do since my freshman year,” Briggs said of signing to play in college. “The summer going into my junior year, I tore a ligament in my thumb, so I missed a bunch of camps. When I got injured again, I wanted to get back as soon as possible. I wanted to keep the faith that I would still get recruited.”
An impressive senior season kept Briggs on the map. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound quarterback threw for 22 touchdowns, ran for 13 more and set the O’Hara school record with 4,772 career passing yards.
He originally committed to Northern Iowa, but flipped to Missouri State when Northern Iowa’s offensive coordinator Mario Verduzco joined Steckel’s first-year staff.
Park Hill milestone
Park Hill enjoyed one of the Kansas City area’s best turnarounds in 2014. A year after winning just three games, the Trojans opened the season on a 12-game winning streak and reached the Missouri Class 5 semifinals before falling to Nixa.
The senior class credited with revitalizing the program saved one last achievement for Wednesday — a record-setting National Signing Day.
A school-record 10 seniors signed to play college football Wednesday. That group featured Carter Anchors (Pittsburg State), Jeremiah Benson (William Penn), Jamaal Brazil (Northwest Missouri State), Clayton Cole (Quincy), Anthony Enriquez (Northwest Missouri State), Kenyatte Harris (Washburn), Jordan Lashbrook (Quincy), Austin Reiter (Quincy), David Taylor (Baker) and Ryan Truvillion (Southeast Missouri State).
“There were a lot of childhood dreams that came to reality today,” Park Hill coach Josh Hood said. “Having 10 players sign today is a testament to where this program is today.”