Travis Brown Receives First Offer from BYU

Dixie State College's top-rated wide receiver – who signed and transferred from Pac-10 school Oregon State – has jumped to the top of the WSFL Conference rankings and has received his first scholarship offer from BYU. In a wide-ranging extensive and revealing interview, Brown did not mince his words and thoughts.

"Yeah, they did. It's the first one and it always feels good to be wanted by somebody," Travis Brown told yesterday.

At 5-11 and 180 pounds, Brown has effectively used his 4.40 speed to create problems for opponents deep in their secondary and is making a name as a deep threat.

Addressing an immediate and urgent need for better play making receivers, BYU coaches have sought quick-fix solutions from among the junior college ranks around the country. Cougar running back coach Paul Tidwell has been coordinating Brown's recruitment.

"Coach Tidwell offered me. They said they need some play making receivers and they need someone to stretch the field and help them out and he said I was that person," Brown said. "They offered me a scholarship and asked me how I felt about it. I said I was pleased because it's one of the places I'm really considering."

Other coaches have come calling since, looking to create interest and set up future recruiting trips.

"I talked to Urban Meyer (Utah head coach) this weekend. I was down in Arizona and he called me on my phone. He wanted to set up a visit, but I wasn't setting up visits yet. I'm pretty sure they're going to offer too. That's pretty much it for now and Oregon State has been in contact with me as well."

Brown, a black athlete from Arizona, said he went to Oregon State, but wasn't happy with his playing situation there. Although he is keeping his options open, Brown isn't sure he would return to Oregon State now that he's proven his worth and success away from the Beavers program.

"Well, you know the Pac-10 is the Pac-10 and I'm going to keep my options open. I'm going to graduate from Dixie, so obviously I can see if there are other places out there."

Brown said he was going to take his time and not rush into a decision in choosing a college to attend. Recalling the recruiting process he experienced as a high school senior and his disappointment at Oregon State, he is now older and wiser and wants to make sure he makes the right decision this time.

"The good thing is that they (coaches) know I'm a junior college player and they don't fool me with the bull. Not like they do with high school players, they come straight out and tell me what the deal is, so that's a lot better," Brown added. "They save all that stuff for the high school players. Just tell me what I need to know since I'm a junior college player. They know I've already been through it all so that helps me a lot, too.

"I'm being really vague with the coaches like Urban Meyers and coach Tidwell about when I'm going to set up my visits and stuff like that because I really don't know yet. I mean, there are still a lot of questions I've still gotta ask before I go on that kind of stuff. I'm going to sit down with my family and see what they think is best for me."

Brown is more seriously reviewing and evaluating what coaches tell him. Unlike his recruitment from high school, he will not simply take what coaches say as the gospel truth. What he wants most from coaches is honesty in clarifiying his actual role as an offensive player for their teams.

"It's all about playing time for me. I mean, that's the big thing because I've only got two years left. I want to start both years and be a main part of an offense both those years. Playing at BYU, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be. I'm kind of taking it slow this time because I rushed into it out of high school and didn't really make a good decision, I thought. This time, I'm going to take it totally different and be slow about it. I don't need to be rushed.

Brown added: "I just want to know if you want me to be the man to go out and get you 120 yards a game. I feel I can do that for any team I play for and I just want to know if I'm going to get that chance from a school. Just tell me straight out, ‘Hey, you're the guy we want to lead this team.' I just gotta know if they are truthful or not."

The glitter and gold of the Pac-10 no longer holds the same appeal for him that it did out of high school.

Not only was he unhappy with his experience at Oregon State, it has made him much more cautious in deciding where to continue his college football career. As a black athlete there, Brown said he experienced some social issues that left a sour taste in his mouth. Playing for what he perceived to be a "white Mormon" school initially revived fears and concerns from old wounds at Oregon State, he said. Next to playing time, the second most important consideration for him in evaluating BYU is how well he's accepted as a black athlete in Provo.

"That stuff is obviously important because I'm not Mormon. But I talked to my dad (Richard Brown) about that kind of stuff and he said it's not that big of a deal, if you really think about it. You're going to school to get an education and nothing else. The goal is to play football and get a good education. All that other stuff shouldn't matter; that's what he told me. I also have a brother who lives in American Fork, so that's a good thing."

"When I talked to my dad, he opened my eyes about it when I said, ‘Dad, there's not a whole lot of black people out there.' He just told me thats something you're just going to have to get over. He told me straight out, ‘If you're so worried about what everybody else is thinking, you don't deserve to be there anyways. You need to just go there and get your education and you need to do what you need to do.' I mean, my dad, he's got his masters degree in psychology and he got kind of mad at me for saying that kind of stuff."

Chastened by his father's counsel and anxious to be more thorough in his evaluation, Brown made a unofficial visit to BYU and Provo to see firsthand what the people were like.

He said he experienced a warm and receptive welcome during his visit with Dixie teammate Danny Southwick, who transferred with him from Oregon State.

Ironically, Southwick signed with BYU and left for an LDS mission after high school. After his mission, he felt the quarterback position was loaded at BYU and transferred to Oregon State. He also did not have a pleasing experience there and convinced Brown to transfer with him to Dixie, where they started immediately this season.

"My boy, (Danny) Southwick, was telling me it's cool down there because he's from Provo and was telling me it's not like that down there," said Brown. "I've seen the difference. When I was up there (Provo), you can tell it's not like that.

"When I was at Oregon, it was the most racist place I've ever been to. There's only so much you can take, day in and day out. It just gets kind of old, all the time."

When asked how his BYU campus tour with Southwick went, Brown said, "It was good. We took a little look at all the stuff (Indoor Practice Facility) and I said this is good because it's cold. I don't wanna be like a little punk or nothing like that, but you gotta warm me up first," Brown joked. "I've seen all the pictures and stuff. The locker rooms are going to be ridiculous and there's going to be all kinds of stuff. It's going to be cool. That is something that is going to help with recruiting because to people like me, I'm going to want that indoor practice facility."

The cold weather is something Brown has come to terms with now that BYU is a university he is very seriously considering.

"You know I'm from Arizona and I don't care about all that cold. You know what I'm talking about! These guys are talking about you gotta wear all this under armor and sleeves and all this kind of stuff and I don't play good in the snow bro, but I'll give it my best shot," said a laughing Brown.

"After talking with my dad, it really doesn't matter. I'm not looking to party and nothing like that. I'm just going to be hitting the books and doing the things I need to do. It's going to be straight football and school, so it doesn't really matter. I'm not going to keep to myself like a little hermit. You know what I'm talking about so it really doesn't matter what the atmosphere is; I'll adapt to whatever it is." Brown said he hopes to major in sports broadcasting. Both he and Southwick are currently doing local broadcasting at high school games in St. George, Utah.

"Communications and broadcasting," said Brown. "Yeah, I'm trying to get on Sports Center. Right here, me and Southwick, we are commentators on high school football games around here and we're going to be doing Dixie basketball. We're trying to take it serious. I'm gonna get on TV some way as a player or broadcaster, Brown chuckled.


On his teammate and sidekick Danny Southwick, Brown said BYU has also been open and honest in recruiting for former BYU signee under LaVell Edwards.

"Yeah, the Y is looking at him. I guess Tidwell told him they are going to check out Jackson Brown (BYU walk-on quarterback) and see what he's going to do. If he doesn't do that good, then the scholarship is going to go to Danny (Southwick), but they're going to give it to Jackson Brown if he does good. Danny is, by far, the best quarterback I've ever had."

Having become inseparable friends from trials, travails and travels from Oregon State to Dixie State College, Brown feels there is a good chance both he and Southwick could make BYU their final destination in what has been an interesting, winding road of college experiences.

"He wants to go back there (BYU), too. That's the place he wants to be. He's always saying he kicks himself now because of the whole quarterback thing that's going on right now," said Brown. "He would be playing right now so he's kind of kicking himself, but he knows everything happens for a reason. He's probably going to end up back there, and I'll probably end up back there with him, too, so it all works out good."

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