The Next Aaron Kelly?

CLEMSON — At Cheraw High School, Jaron Brown was the man. As the Braves go-to guy, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound wide receiver dominated the competition.

In fact, as a senior, he totaled 31 catches for 516 yards and a remarkable 16 touchdowns.

His efforts earned him all-region, all-area, all-state and the High School Sports Reports Class AA Player of the Year, while leading Cheraw to back-to-back state championships in 2006 and 2007.

But a strange thing happened on the way to being a star at Clemson University, Brown learned he wasn't the man anymore and instead is simply know as a freshman.

"I learned how to be patient," Brown recently told "That's the main thing. You can't wake up the next morning and be great. It takes time and you have to learn from some of the older players."

One of those players is fifth-year senior wideout Aaron Kelly. Like Brown, Kelly was redshirted as a freshman after he dominated Georgia high school cornerbacks and safeties with 55 catches for 955 yards and 17 touchdowns his senior year. And like Brown, Kelly said sitting out a year did wonders for his game as he watched and learned, while realizing how hard he was going to have to work in order to play at the college level.

A guy who was considered a project at the time, Kelly turned out to be "okay" and will leave Clemson as perhaps the most prolific pass catcher in school history. Oh by the way, he is also known as the ACC's all-time best in terms of receptions thanks to his conference record 226 career catches.

At Clemson, the 6-foot-5, 190-pound senior is the career leader in catches and touchdown receptions and needs just 23 yards in the Gator Bowl to become the all-time leader in receiving yards.

Though Brown as aspirations to be the next Kelly, right now he says he spent this past fall working on becoming a complete player.

"Redshirting has really benefited me," he said. "It gave me a chance to get stronger and learn the playbook a little more. It really gave me a good feel for how it is going to be in college."

It also gave him a chance to get serious with his grades, something he is extremely proud of.

"I got a chance to keep up with my academics and I made pretty good grades this semester," said Brown who was rated as the No. 56 wide receiver in the nation by coming out of high school. "The biggest adjustment was time management; managing out everything between academics and athletics. Clemson is real big on academics and we have a great coaching staff that stays on us, and you know athletics as well."

As a wide receiver, Brown says he working on improving his route running, while gaining more control of his body while running in the open field. Next year he says his goal is to not only earn playing time but he wants to become a complete player while making his teammates and his team that much better.

As for what his biggest adjustment was this season, Brown says learning the ways of a new position coach when Dabo Swinney was promoted to interim coach at midseason was a tough challenge. Jeff Scott has since moved into the wide receivers coach role.

"Coach Swinney recruited me to come to Clemson in the first place so it was a big adjustment," Brown said. "Having him as a wide receivers coach was great, but having him as the head coach is even better. I think he really deserved the job."

And now Brown looks to earn the job to be the Tigers next Aaron Kelly. Top Stories