Adversity breeds success. That’s the story of Trevon Brown in one sentence. This time last season, the talented New Hanover product was denied his initial freshman eligibility because his high school transcript was submitted too late to the NCAA.
To make matters worse, legal troubles called into question whether Brown would ever play for ECU. In February 2014 Brown was arrested and charged with felony Possession of a Schedule II Controlled Substance. The case was pending at the time and Brown was questionable for ECU's season opener against North Carolina Central. When kickoff rolled around he was deemed eligible and the rest is history.
It would have been easy for Brown to get down on himself and sulk, but instead he decided to use his situation as an opportunity to learn and improve. Fifth-year head coach Ruffin McNeill spoke about Brown’s motivation after ECU’s 70-41 win over North Carolina Saturday and how the freshman receiver never wavered despite the adversity he had faced.
“Everybody on our team has a story and has faced adversity both coaches and players,” said McNeill. “That’s premeditated and designed in recruiting because the person who has been through some things and stays committed to the team won’t flinch. He won’t take a step back and accepts challenges. Trevon is a good teammate, the older guys take him through things and he catches on quick as a good listener.”
Brown has taken off in the first four games of this season since regaining his eligibility and joining the team last January. He already has 11 catches for 206 yards and four touchdowns with three of his touchdowns coming against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.
ECU’s quarterback Shane Carden has established a trust and chemistry with Brown from working together through the spring and summer, and in a mentor role, Carden has developed a relationship with the young receiver off of the field.
“Trevon has been through a lot,” said Carden. “He has continued to work and fight, he’s a great kid and one of my very good friends. He’s also a tremendous athlete, if we get him the ball in space you see what he can do.”
Last night against UNC, Brown had his coming out party inside of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Early Saturday morning, he learned that he would receive his first collegiate start as a result of senior receiver Cam Worthy, who caught six passes for 224 yards against Virginia Tech, being suspended two games for violating the student code of conduct policy.
Brown rose to the occasion with 117 receiving yards on five catches and two touchdowns in his first career start.
Brown has also made his mark in the kick-return game as well. Against the Tar Heels, he had four kickoff returns for 93 yards, including a 42-yard momentum building return that set up the Pirates for a scoring drive, while they were down six points in the first quarter.
Once again, another player has stepped in to have a big game when the Pirates needed it. Despite who he was replacing or his inexperience, nobody seemed surprise with what Brown did Saturday.
“Last year we had a bunch of guys go out for certain reasons,” said Carden. “We just have guys that want to step up and make plays. That’s what today was.”