June 24, 2013
By Chad Shepard, MGoBlue.com
Senior cornerback Courtney Avery has accomplished a great deal on the football field during his career at Michigan. His family has a storied history here, but Avery wants to leave a footprint of his own in Ann Arbor, and he's taking the steps to do just that. While his football chapter has one entry left, the legacy of Courtney Avery as a person is just being written.
Avery has contributed to the Michigan secondary for three straight seasons, totaling more than 80 tackles, forcing three fumbles and defending eight passes. He has two career interceptions, his most memorable being this interception with less than a minute remaining that sealed victory in the Wolverines' victory over Ohio State to end the 2011 regular season and help U-M to the Allstate Sugar Bowl. His accomplishments on the field are a compliment to his off-field persona.
"Courtney has a split personality," fellow defensive back Thomas Gordon explains. "Off the field, he is a humble guy. You wouldn't even know that he plays football; but on the field he is a really intense player, and he brings a lot to the table for our team."
In high school, Avery was the runner-up for the 2009 Art Teynor Award back home in Ohio, the Ohio Coaches' Association's version of the "Mr. Football" award, with a twist. The Art Teynor Award recipient is given to the top academic/football player in the state of Ohio. He had the makings of a Michigan Man.
Avery continued to impress his coaches and peers when he came to Michigan. Upon completion of his sophomore season, Avery earned the Frederick Matthaei spring award for the junior-to-be who best displayed leadership, drive and achievement on the athletic field and in the classroom. He responded by being named to the Academic All-Big Ten Team after last season.
While the skilled defensive back certainly has aimed high in his aspirations to this point, most fans don't know that his lofty expectations are not limited to the football field. Upon graduating next spring, Avery plans to attend law school. The elevated standards he has come to hold himself to come as no surprise to Gordon.
"That definitely fits his personality," Gordon said, "He has helped me with a couple of my political science classes, and he is a really smart guy. He brings that off the field and on the field."
It wasn't always a clear-cut decision for Avery, though.
"Initially when I came to college I wanted to go to Med School," Avery said. "But after I took a science class I changed my mind and decided that wasn't for me, and then I got into political science. I took a class called Philosophy and Law that really got me started off in wanting to go to law school."
Avery is still in the process of deciding just what kind of law he wants to practice, but his goal of being an entrepreneur with his own business has pushed him in the direction of corporate law.
"It'd be good to get a background with contracts and business and helping businesses off the ground," Avery acknowledges, "so I'm kind of doing the legwork for that."
Inspired by the Michigan football alumni before him who have made a niche for themselves in the business world; he has his sights set high.
"Marlin Jackson, Dhani Jones, those guys have nonprofits and seeing those guys enter the business world outside of football just shows that this is very doable. I'm looking forward to the future."
So are Michigan fans.