Finally a starter, Brown ready to do heavy lifting with Mountaineers
At 6-foot-4, 223 pounds, the boy's strength could be an asset to his father's business, but he has never been asked to load produce onto any of the flatbed trucks in his fleet. "I don't want him looking down that path," his father says. "I'm proud of my work but he's filled my life with so much joy by playing. He thrills me with the ball."
Excitement has been hard to come by the last four years. After starting at quarterback (and point guard for the baskeball team) at Palm Beach Lakes High since Day 1 as a freshman, Brown was forced to learn patience the last four years in Morgantown. Ranked the No. 12 dual-threat quarterback recruit in the class of 2005, Brown first eyed his competition for the starting job during a visit to campus for the spring game when he was still a prep star.
White's arm did not scare Brown. The newcomer had worked with former West Virginia quarterback and San Diego Chargers draft pick
Still, the slippery White knifed his way up the depth chart and won the race to the starting role. News of Brown's being redshirted came quietly. No coach informed Brown that he lost the competition. He read about his relegation on MSNsports.com, the school's athletics department Web site. "I just thought that was messed up," Brown says.
Brown picked up the pieces in the weight room. Already stronger than White, he added more muscle lifting with the linebackers and studying coach
The family only discussed the possibility of leaving one time. West Virginia had been the first school to offer him a scholarship and the first to be open to him playing both basketball and football. The son valued loyalty and returned to back up White again as a sophomore. His breakthrough would not come until the regular season finale against Rutgers. White was out with a sore ankle and the Scarlet Knights were seeking their first Big East title. It was 29 degrees at Milan Puskar Stadium and Brown was the coolest player on the field. Despite throwing only 18 passes all season, Brown completed 14 of 29 passes for 244 yards, scrambled for one touchdown and connected with receiver
The winter of 2008 was one of uncertainty in Morgantown. Rodriguez uprooted for Michigan and quarterbacks coach
Basketball had always pulled at him. In high school he spent most summers traveling the national AAU circuit and missed most football workouts. Now the two-sport focus returned. New offensive coordinator
When Brown has the controls and
Seider knows best what Brown is going through in replacing White. A backup to Mountaineers star
Adds White, who is competing for the Miami Dolphins starting job: "We're two different players, but the fans are going to see just how mature he is."
James Brown is getting excited again. His days go by a little faster, knowing the seasons are about to change to his favorite time of year. "I've always thought of myself as a mirror of my family," Jarrett says. "When you wake up, you go to work. It's time to do some heavy lifting."