Toughness defines Kweishi Brown

Finesse rather that physicality is the attribute that is normally highlighted when evaluating cornerbacks. But when it comes to a defense such as Arizona State's, stoutness is highly valued let alone required from every player in that role, such as Kweishi Brown. It is an approach that has been embraced by the Sun Devils' newcomer from Grossmont College (Calif.).

"I grew up with my pops and he was in the military for 20 years and then a corrections officers," Brown stated. "He was real disciplined, my mom too. When we were younger, we wouldn't lift but I'd have to do push-ups and run hills, and as I got older, it just became natural to want to work out. Coach Graham is a disciplined coach and I thought I'd be a perfect fit for this program because I grew up that way. That's what I need. I need to be around that kind of environment."

Now that it not to say that former Grossmont standout didn't appreciate other aspects of Arizona State that led him to his ultimate decision.

"What I liked about Arizona State compared to other schools, for sure, was just the bond that the players had with the coaches and with the other players," Brown described. "I didn't see that too much at other schools. I mean, you'll see certain groups or some people singled out but at Arizona State it was like brothers for real. It was more like a family and I'm all about family.

"There were so many good things about Arizona State. I'd say the people, and I mean even the people who don't like football or sports. I know there's going to be a lot of love and support as well. And then it's beautiful there. It's kind of like back home except the beach and it's kind of hot, but I can't complain about the weather because I love it being hot."

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The 6-0 198-pound Kweishi Brown was a junior college All-American who recorded 62 tackles, 16 pass breakups and four interceptions in 2013. When he prepped at El Cajon (Calif.) Valhalla High School he yearned to play wide receiver due to his speed. His coaches insisted that his best position would be at cornerback and that is the role he played at in his first year at Grossmont.

"In the beginning, I didn't know if I could go to D-I but I had teammates and coaches tell me I didn't know how good I am and to believe in myself," Brown recalled. "But then when all the recruiters started to come in, it hit me. I was just like, ‘Wow.' It was crazy. I didn't see that coming at all but it worked out for the best, obviously.

"(former ASU cornerbacks) Coach Lorig recruited me but that was really, right after I had committed to Arkansas so at first I kind of pushed them away. He was always telling me we have two seniors who are leaving so there was an opportunity for me to come in and play right away. And not only that, but just the way that he approached me; I just got a good vibe from him right off the bat. I always just kind of stayed in touch with them and then as time went on I started talking to Coach Lorig more even when I was committed to Arkansas and then I don't know, I just wanted to come to Arizona State.

"Arkansas was my first offer and I did commit early, so I really didn't get a chance to go through the whole process. Then other offers started coming in and schools were calling and I just thought, ‘Dang, these are some really good opportunities,' so I just decided to de-commit and explore all my options."

Brown did have a strong Arizona State advocate in his corner in former Sun Devil defensive back Brett Hudson who played in Tempe during the 2002-03 seasons, and was now the defensive backs coach at Grossmont. Nonetheless, Brown said that despite his eventual signing with ASU that his position coach wasn't pushing him towards his alma mater.

"He gave me some advice, no doubt," Brown noted. "That's just how he is. But he didn't push me at all. He wanted what was best for me and respected my decision."

Hudson was undoubtedly elated by his player decision, as he gave him a glowing evaluation in a previous interview with Devils Digest.

"He's a press corner that isn't afraid to cover anybody," Hudson described. "That is what I like about him – he was eager and willing to cover the best wide receiver. He's a pure athlete with top level speed, and that is important as a press corner because you have to use your speed before you use your hands. He's shown me some of the best press coverage I have ever seen. He hits well too and has ball skills that I haven't seen from a cornerback in junior college in a long time.

"A lot of teams didn't throw the ball his way after he had seven interceptions the year before. He is definitely a Division I cornerback."

On the other hand, Hudson said that even though his player is by and large a mature person, he needs to stay mentally focused and avid distractions to maximize his potential.

"Because a lot of teams didn't throw his way he would honestly get distracted," Hudson stated. "Obviously in Division I there is a higher competition level and that distraction (he had at junior college) won't exist.

"I told him this during the season, that I want him to ‘run with the mustangs and not hang out with the crabs in the bucket.' He's an elite player that associated himself with players that are not at his level and I thought at times that has brought him down during the year. I want him to be in the company of top tier elite athletes. That will suit him as well. He's very self-motivated and works out a lot of times on his own and if he keeps getting away from those distractions they sky is the limit for him."

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ASU's defensive scheme not only calls for toughness from its cornerbacks, but also often has them on the proverbial island in one-on-one matchups. Judging by his school of choice, suffice to say that this type of a system was anything but a detriment to a player such as Brown.

"At Grossmont I was always the guy who had to cover the best receiver," Brown commented. "I was always on an island, so I'm used to that. My strength, I'd say, is that I'm patient. I'm pretty patient, which you need to be as a corner. It's not going to be too much different now. The only thing that is going to be different is just the competition."

And once he arrives in Tempe, he will join forces with a foe whom he had some fierce battles with in the last two years – Saddleback wide receiver and fellow ASU newcomer Eric Lauderdale. Brown admitted that he certainly discussed with Lauderdale the possibility of both donning the maroon and gold in 2014.

"We connected on the (ASU) visit," Brown said, "and then after that we talked a lot. ‘Hey man, where are you gonna go?' We really didn't talk, like too specific. We mostly joked around but we knew where we were going. That's another thing about that, when you have great receivers to go against in practice, they're helping you and you're helping them because they have great DB's to go against as well. We both work, so when it comes to game time it makes it easy for both of us."

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It's no secret that the cornerback role is classified as a position of need in ASU's defense and that Kweishi Brown is naturally counted on to heavily contribute s a JC transfer and shore up the depth chart here. On the other hand, he doesn't let that fact burden him as he I about to embark on his career at the next level.

"I'm coming down there to compete," Brown stated. "Whoever is going to play the best will start and I look at it as a challenge. I have a lot of confidence in myself. Taking the JUCO route and now being able to play in the Pac-12 is something special. I played well against good wide receivers like Eric Lauderdale and I don't think that I will face receivers that are that much better than him.

"Guys like Eric helped me become a better corner just like I helped them become a better receiver. So now that I will get to practice against him and that will make it (the transition to D-I) easier on both if us. But I now I have to put in hard work. I have good size and ball skills, and I need to get better on my reads. Once I master that it's going to be game over."

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Recruit Profile:

Date of birth: 11-10-92
Place of birth: San Diego, Calif.
Nickname: Kweish
Favorite TV Show: Criminal Minds
Movie: 21 Jump Street
Favorite Musician: Whitney Houston
Favorite Food: Hamburger
Favorite Drink: Water
Favorite Athlete: Patrick Peterson
Favorite Team: San Diego Chargers
Person You Most Admire: Dad. He accomplished a lot and has set a good example for me
First Football Memory: Catching a touchdown during flag football, around age five
One Thing Most People Don't Know About Him: He's lactose intolerant
Reason Why He Chose ASU: the brotherhood, it feels like home, and it's the perfect fit for me
Where He Wants to Be in 10 Years: Playing in the NFL. If I'm not playing he'd like to be a social worker or get into coaching

Click here for Brown's highlights.

Byron Kline contributed to this article

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