Brown Hungry to Play

Jeremy Brown came to Gainesville in the spring of 2008 with one thought in his head. He would excel on the football field. His one-track mind needed adjusting, and that came in the form of injury. Brown hasn't seen the field in his first two years on campus, but without the time on the sidelines, he wouldn't have got his life in order.

The cornerback burst onto the scene as a freshman in the spring of 2008, as head coach Urban Meyer claimed Brown was further along than fellow cornerback Janoris Jenkins. He seemed destined to see the field early in his career.

That was until a back injury slowed his progress. Two ruptured disks caused joint and nerve problems so painful that Jeremy Brown struggled to sleep at night. The pain was so bad it almost caused him to hang up his cleats and never play football again.

Instead, he found strength in his family.

Brown was forced to mature quickly, but it wasn't because of the injuries. He isn't just a football player. He is also a father.

His son, Jaden, not only gave him strength to continue on the football field, but the three-year-old also challenged Brown to change his life.

"I grew up fast," Brown said. "When I first got here, I was the typical college kid. I wanted to enjoy the experience, go out and party. I wanted to do it all. When you get an injury and have a little boy, you grow up quick (and ask), "is this really worth it?" You start taking a lot of responsibility in your hands."

Humbled by the injury, Brown changed his priorities. Instead of striving to become the star football player on campus, he focused on becoming the best father possible. Faith and family moved above football on his list of priorities, something he realized should have happened when he first got to Gainesville.

"You still stay hungry and have a drive that motivates you, but my priorities weren't straight," Brown said. "I had football at top above my faith and my family. That's not how it should be. Football is not who I am, it's just what I do. I look at the game differently now."

The cornerback has taken Coach Meyer's offseason struggles close to heart. Meyer reshuffled his priorities in the offseason, spending more time with his family and showing that it is possible to succeed in football and as a father.

"I've looked at that and applied it to myself," Brown said. "You take that and think about it, it's true. The key is putting everything in order. When it's not in order, that's when you have problems. I've got everything in order now, so everything is going better and smoother. Everything is flowing on the same page."

Brown is currently in a battle to start as the second cornerback on the team. Janoris Jenkins has secured the top spot, but Brown is now in a five-man fight to start alongside him.

However, he is limiting his expectations. The letdown experienced over the past two seasons has Brown now hoping to see the field in some capacity.

"From what I came through, my expectation is just to get on the field," Brown said. "I just want to help this team. I spent two years of not playing, looking and seeing my teammates on the sideline. It was tough. Anyway I can contribute is a blessing."

Moses Jenkins seems to be the stiffest competition. The senior split first-team snaps as a starter with Brown during spring practices, and the two continue to do so in fall camp.

"It's a good competition," Brown said. "Moses is a wonderful athlete. He's long, tall and fast. He's a complete corner. I learn a lot from him and Janoris. I take what they do good and try to apply it to my game."

The Gators have three freshmen that are expected to provide depth this season. Cody Riggs, Joshua Shaw and Jaylen Watkins will continue competing for the starting spot, but they will likely see the field in special teams situations.

Regardless of how much they see the field on defense this year, Brown expects them to get plenty of playing time in the coming years.

"It seems like the freshmen get better and better every year," Brown said. "I feel like coming in as a freshman, these guys are better than I was when I was a freshman. With Shaw, Watkins and Riggs, Gator fans should be excited about them. They're special."
Follow Cody Jones on

Fightin Gators Top Stories