BYU's connection to El Camino Community College stretches back years. Players like former offensive lineman Sete Aulai (2005-07), nose tackle Marques Johnson (2012-14), wide receiver Jonathan Pittman (1998-2000), safety Chris Ellison (1996-98), cornerback Omarr “The Blanket” Morgan (1996-97) and legendary quarterback Steve Sarkisian (1996-97) began their collegiate careers at El Camino before continuing on with their careers at BYU. The Cougars have narrowed in on a defensive back from El Camino that may be the next Warrior to continue his collegiate career in a BYU uniform.
Travell Brown is a 6-1, 185-pound defensive back prospect with plans to graduate from El Camino in early June with his Associates Degree and will be eligible immediately as a late addition for the 2016 season. Brown was surprised to learn of the rich legacy that El Camino Warriors have left at BYU. He was long-familiar with Steve Sarkisian and his exploits but was unaware that Sarkisian had played his collegiate football at BYU but was excited to learn that “Sark” was a Cougar once upon a time.
Dubbed “Tray Beezy” or just “Beezy” by his Warrior teammates, Brown has had a number conversations with collegiate programs across the spectrum of collegiate football (FBS, FCS, Division 2, Division 3, NAIA), but has yet to commit to a program. BYU reached out to him this morning with some welcome news.
“Coach T (Tevita Ofahengaue) sent me a text message this morning and said to call him,” Brown explained. “We had a brief conversation and he explained what they liked about me as a player, how they would like to see my school transcripts, and that they would like to get me out there to visit and see their spring ball game in couple weeks.”
Sporting a 3.2 (2.86 in core classes) grade point average, Brown was a “Scholar-Baller” Award recipient at El Camino and has plans to major in communications. The fact that BYU’s communications program is highly-regarded and has the built in perk of BYUtv only endears BYU to Brown further.
“It’s an honor and great opportunity [to have a chance to go to BYU] for me since I have been taking care of business in the classroom,’ Brown said. “I was a “Scholar-Baller” at El Camino last year and I knew that grades would be the reason I get out. Talent helps but education is the key. I have a goal of making it to the NFL, but getting my education is a great addition.
“I would like to be a sports commentator in the future like someone like Stephen A. Smith,” Brown continued. “I am interested in debating and talking about sports so having a communications program like BYU’s would be a great help for me to prepare for that.”
Playing time in El Camino’s defensive backfield was at a premium last year. Brown, who prepped at Gardena High School in Gardena, CA, mentioned he was splitting time with 6 other athletes during the season. Brown was credited with 10 tackles (5 solo) and a pass breakup in 2015 while seeing action in eight games for the Warriors who finished the season 3-7 overall. He added 9 tackles (5 solo) and 3 pass breakups in 2014 while playing in 9 games.
“If you watch my film, [you’ll see] I'm an energetic player,” said Brown. “Football is the sport I played my whole life. I feel like my potential is high. I played wide receiver in high school and transitioned to cornerback at El Camino. I feel like I can't be beat when I am out on that island. My stats are light. I never got a chance to get comfortable on the field because we had a deep defensive backs corps so reps were hard to come by.
“I put the highlights up that I [have] and those highlights explain me as a player. What you see is exactly what you get,” Brown explained further.
Brown felt that his speed, particularly in the 40 yard dash, was lacking so he ran track for El Camino last year, running the 100, 200, and 400 meters along with 4x100 and 4x400 relays. He reports a 4.48 second 40 time along with personal bests of 11.2 seconds in the 100, 22 seconds in the 200, and 52 seconds in the 400.
When asked what he knew about BYU, Brown didn’t hold back.
“I know BYU is an independent school,” Brown said. “They have a great communications program with their own sports network. I know they play a great schedule(s). I remember they played in the Las Vegas Bowl this past season. I know they're in Utah and not afraid to play top schools. I also know it's a Mormon school but that's not a problem for me. I am a member of the Sabbath-Keeper religion but I don't mind going to a Mormon school because I'm going there for many reasons. I have a relationship with God but I take the education aspect into consideration and the fact that BYU believes in me as JUCO athlete and acknowledged my play. Not to mention it’s a division one (FBS) school.”
The BYU Honor Code is also an aspect that Brown feels wouldn’t preclude him from being a Cougar.
“[Coach Ofahengaue] mentioned the honor code to me,” Brown said. “I don't have a problem with that. I am going to school to hone my craft, get an education, and make it to the NFL. I have dreams of an NFL future.”
Brown said that BYU sees him potentially as a solution to their current need of a cornerback and said that the plan as of now is to host him on an official visit to BYU over the weekend of March 26th, when BYU will hold their annual spring game at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
“I am so excited to be heading out to BYU potentially,” Gushed Brown. “I wish I knew a word better than excited. I’m enthusiastic about it. I have this blessed and appreciative feeling. I just feel so good. I feel like my hard work I’m putting in is paying off. The recognition part of it makes me feel blessed. Excited doesn’t tell you how I feel about it!”
Brown finished off the conversation by explaining what all the attention being shown to him by BYU means to him.
“I already have a ton of energy and for me to know that BYU is interested? Man, I feel like playing right now. I want to play in BYU’s spring game and show them what I am capable of!”