C.J. Brown discusses his UM commitment
Maryland quarterback commitment C.J. Brown grew up in a college football-loving household. The Saturday routine in the fall for Brown and his father Clark, a former Michigan State quarterback, would be to park in front of the television at their Cranberry Township, Pa. home and watch the Spartans and other college football action around the country.
Brown hoped that one day he’d be a starting quarterback in high school. Later on, he’d possibly follow his father’s footsteps and take his game to the Division I level.
But when his number was called on the varsity near the end of his sophomore season, things didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned for Brown.
“It was a big change going into my first varsity game as sophomore at age 15,” Brown said. “There were guys flying around ... it was crazy. I just got hit and landed on [my collarbone] wrong. I wasn’t in any pain, but I couldn’t move the arm. The doctor put his hands under my pads, he just pushed down on the collarbone, and it moved, which was a bad sign.”
The diagnosis was a broken collarbone. The injury ended Brown’s varsity football stint that year, and claimed a small chunk of his basketball season as well.
“I was disappointed, but it was the end of the season -- I think we only had one more game left and we weren’t going to the playoffs,” Brown said. “It was kind of a sigh of relief in a bad way, but it was definitely something to boost my confidence to getting bigger and stronger.”
Brown quickly nursed himself back to full strength, even making it back to return in time for the latter parts of his basketball season. When that season was complete, Brown hit the weight room. Before two-a-days started that summer, Brown had added 15 pounds to his 6-foot-3 frame.
With Brown under center for the entirety of the 2007 season, Seneca Valley went 6-4 and made the playoffs for the first time since 2003. Brown threw for 1,567 yards and 11 touchdowns, and rushed for 586 yards and five touchdowns.
During that junior season, the first stages of Brown’s recruitment began. He didn’t give it much thought during the year, but after Seneca Valley bowed out of the playoffs, he began to pay recruiting more attention.
Maryland extended an invitation to one of its Junior Day events last month, so Brown and his parents made the three-and-a-half hour drive from Western Pennsylvania to College Park.
“It was my first time down at College Park,” Brown said. “They wanted me to come down, see the campus, take a tour. I came down a day early -- I wanted to get a grasp of the campus. They offered me that night.”
Beyond enjoying the campus atmosphere, Brown said he liked the looks of Maryland's quarterback depth chart. Chris Turner and Josh Portis will be the veterans on the UM roster during Brown’s freshman season. In 2010, Brown would potentially compete with Jamarr Robinson and Tyler Bass for the starting job. Brown said he looks forward to learning from Turner and Portis before getting serious playing time.
“Since these guys are older, I will be able to learn from them and take their experience in becoming a better college quarterback.”
As for style of play, Brown says his 4.65 speed allows him to be versatile. That versatility could lend itself to Brown playing in a number of different offensive schemes.
“I can be a pocket quarterback,” Brown said. “I can sit back there and take hits, and when I need to, I can scramble and run. I guess I’m a typical dual-threat quarterback. I’m not a Vince Young -- I look to pass first -- but if I need to take off and run, then I can do that.”
With his commitment made, there’s little incentive for Brown to embark on the typical summer combine/camp circuit that many uncommitted prospects tend to go through. Brown said that while he hasn’t entirely decided what his summer plans are, they’ll primarily focus on getting prepared for his senior season and working out with his teammates.
While his last season of varsity football is at the forefront of his mind, Brown said it’s good to know that his plans for everything after high school are all set.
“I feel great,” Brown said. “I’m really excited about my commitment and going to Maryland.”