MELISSA — Melissa All-District running back Breelyn Armstrong is headed north to continue his education and his football career. North as in Iowa, home of Simpson College and the NCAA Division III Storm. Armstrong made his choice official on Thursday, April 5, at Melissa High School, with his signature on a National Letter of Intent before a large crowd of teammates and family members, as well as numerous coaches who’ve worked with and grown to appreciate not only Armstrong’s play but his approach to the game.

“Breelyn is probably the most selfless kid I know,” Melissa boys athletic director and head football coach Seth Stinton said. “He’s all about the team and that’s what makes him the most special. His caring for his teammates is something that’s hard to replace, it’s hard to teach. That’s the thing I’m most appreciative of Breelyn for — besides being just a great athlete and great football player. His teammates will remember him forever because of the way he treated them.”

“It honestly doesn’t seem real to me right now,” Armstrong said. “It hasn’t really hit me. But I’m sure it will when I’m driving up there for 10 hours. I’ll get to think about it.” He plans to major in computer science and said he was drawn to Simpson College for its solid reputation in this area, its internship program and its job-placement guarantee. The private, liberal arts school is located in Indianola, Iowa, just south of Des Moines. The Storm competes in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Armstrong was a Second-Team All-District running back each of the last two seasons and played linebacker as well. He said what he’ll remember most about his time at Melissa is “just the community.” “Texas football is like nothing else I’ve seen. Everyone knows you. Everyone knows about what’s going on. Everyone knows about the football games. Everyone’s there. It’s just a great feeling.”

As for role models, Armstrong said his parents, Bruce and Kimberlee Armstrong, have been his. Both were present at the signing. “They’ve helped me through everything I’ve gone through,” Armstrong said. “They’ve basically kept me on my feet, helped guide me through my life.”

“I think he made a good choice, academically over athletically,” Kimberlee said. “He was smart enough to know that academics was as important if not more important than the athletic part. Yet he can continue to play and enjoy himself, athletically. … His instant reaction when he got there was he felt like he was at home.”

“It’s everything he worked for,” Bruce said. “He’s always wanted to go to the next level. I take that back — I guess in the 10th grade he kind of had doubts. We didn’t talk him into it. He made up his own mind, so it’s a joy to see. The young man works extremely hard, academically and athletically. … He’s my favorite player. I still won’t miss a game no matter where he goes. If he went to Alaska, I still wouldn’t miss a game.”

“We’re thrilled,” Armstrong’s aunt Rosalind Jones said. “There’s no kid who better deserves this than Breelyn. He’s really an awesome kid. We couldn’t ask for anything better.” His grandmother, Jane Armstrong, added, “It’s an achievement he has wanted and he has gotten. And I’m thanking God for my grandson, coming out of high school, going into college.”