C. Brown Slated to Play This Fall

He's the smallest player on the team, but cornerback/returner Chapelle Brown could have a big impact on the 2006 squad, as far as true freshmen go. Brown is one of a handful of rookies who will likely see action early this season.

Chapelle Brown is listed at 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds. But in terms of a competitor, he's establishing himself as one of the bigger players in the class of freshmen.

Brown is currently listed on the depth chart No. 3 at right cornerback behind seniors Lorenzo Sims and Terry Washington. He's also second-team punt returner behind junior Stephone Robinson.

On Sunday, head coach Dan Hawkins mentioned Brown, along with linebacker Michael Sipili, as two true freshman expected forego a redshirt year and contribute. (Freshman longsnapper Justin Drescher is also expected to play, and freshman wide receiver Scotty McKnight is currently listed second on the depth chart at wide receiver.)

"That's the goal," said Brown, from Los Altos High in La Puente, Calif. "I just want to compete every day and if a chance is there (to play), I'll take it. I just try to work every day. I'm not being cocky, I'm just trying to come out here every day and work. If the coach says I can play, then I'm going to play."

Hawkins doesn't like to burn redshirts unless the player's position coach thinks the team needs the freshman to play.

"What happens a lot of times is you like him, and he's pretty good and you've got him as a backup," Hawkins said. "Then the first game he plays five plays. I'm going, ‘I thought you said we needed this guy.' If we need this guy, he better be getting reps. He better be getting serious reps."

Hawkins said a true freshman needs to "be emotionally ready, he's got to be physically ready, and he's got to be mentally ready," in order to play. He said a handful of true freshmen on this team almost fit that category.

"There's always a few guys on the cusp," Hawkins said. "We'll see where we're at when we get a couple weeks into the season."

Hawkins added that some of the true freshmen now slotted to redshirt will travel with the team so they can be ready to play in an emergency situation.

But when asked specifically about Brown, Hawkins indicated he and Sipili aren't on the cusp, but players who will see action this fall.

"Chapelle Brown and Michael Sipili will go," Hawkins said.

Brown is competing in a talented, and fairly deep secondary. He said some of the upperclassmen are taking him under their wings.

"Especially, J.J. (Billingsley). He's taking me in the film room and helping me get better," Brown said.

Despite his diminutive size, Brown — whose quickness and speed has impressed coaches — said the mental aspect of college football has been the most challenging.

If — or when — called upon, Brown said he'll be prepared.

"It's going to be incredible," Brown said about when he might play, whether that's Sept. 2 in CU's opener vs. Montana State, or later. "That's what you work for, so I'm going to be ready."

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