Local Event Sports Association

The name, Charles W. Follis (pictured center, holding football), may not ring any bells upon mention, but his place in sports history should be stated: He was the first black professional football player.

Born Feb. 3, 1879 in Cloverdale, VA, Follis' parents moved to the City of Wooster, OH when he was a young boy.

He would take an early interest in the game of football and played a primary role in organizing his Wooster High School's first varsity football team in 1899 while he was just a junior.

Serving, that season, as both his team's starting halfback and its captain, Follis led the team to a perfect season as they were neither beaten nor scored upon in their debut.

Follis was recognized at that time for his great power and speed; breaking through defensive lines with ease and shedding tacklers like loose clothing.

Standing at 6'0" feet and weighing 200 pounds, Follis was often bigger than his opponents, which gave him quite the advantage as a ball carrier—he simply ran over people.

Playing the game came with ease and he enjoyed it mightily.

After graduation, in 1901, he entered Wooster Colleg...

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