Brown Challenging Himself This Spring

Dre Brown, already a great running back, is trying his hand in the defensive backfield to help his overall game this spring.

Even though Dre Brown of Dekalb, IL is known for his ability to tote the rock, this spring he's taken the opportunity to expand his game and see things from the other side of the ball.

With running backs getting limited action in 7 on 7's, Brown has elected to play defensive back throughout the spring and into the early summer with the Midwest BOOM team.

"I'm just trying to be a more complete and versatile player for my team next year," Brown said. "By doing this against the best competition, it will get me ready for that."

Brown is a very unselfish player. The purpose of the spring switch isn't to showcase himself, but rather to gain valuable experience for his team before his junior season.

"This is an opportunity to be able to help my team out, and I'm a big team player," he said.

Of course, he hasn't neglected his running back sills in the offseason either. But much of that work happens on his own time.

"I've been doing a bunch of drills," he said. "Any time I go to a camp I pick up on the drills and I'll go home and work on those in my backyard. Running back is my main position."

During the offseason, Brown has also added about 10 pounds. But that weight has been beneficial, and despite some early concerns, it hasn't slowed him down during track season.

"It's been good. I run track, so usually I'm just trying to maintain, but I've actually put more," he said. "I weigh 192 where last year I weighed about 183 or 184."

Brown has also noticed a difference on the football field.

"I've noticed that I'm more explosive and I'm able to break more tackles," he said.

After a season that was a bit disappointing by his standards last year, Brown is ready to strap on the pads again this fall and make his team better.

"Really we're just trying to make the playoffs," he said. "We had a new coach coming in that we feel like will be really good."

For Brown, the positive vibe he's gotten from the coach early on has already made a big difference.

"I've just met him but I feel like I've known him forever," Brown said. "He's a good coach and I can't wait to see what he's got planned for the summer."

The offense won't be a far departure from last year's spread at Dekalb, but the new system will put the ball in Brown's hands a lot more often.

"We'll be using a lot of pistol," he said. "I like it though because it's a spread but we still do a lot of one-back."

Brown is a versatile back, so he can make any system work, but he admits that he's best in the open field where he can pick and choose his gaps and make moves on defenders.

"I like pro-style but I also like spread," he said. "We ran a spread all of last year, and I like running zone and getting up the field. My speed and I feel like I make really good cuts. I think my best asset is my instinct. I know when to cut and when not to."

With another year under his belt, Brown is more than ready to go out and make a difference for his team.

"As a sophomore I was a little shaky," he admitted, "but as a junior I'm confident and I'm ready to run full-force ahead."

Brown's numbers as a sophomore may be slightly deceiving, but he split a lot of carries between a couple of other backs. This year, he projects to be the feature back at Dekalb and is ready to tote the rock much more.

"In past years I split carries," he said "but in the new offense, I'll be the main back, so I'm ready for a big year."

At this time, Brown holds two offers, both from in-state programs, but he does admit that one of those two stands out for him.

"I still have two offers from Illinois and Northern Illinois," he said. "I might be close to Michigan State if I go to their camp. Illinois is probably at the top right now though."

Brown hears from plenty of college coaches already, but he's also been hearing from a couple of future college players when it comes to recruiting.

Illinois signee Miguel Hermosillo and 2014 commit Mike Dudek have both been in Brown's ear already, and the relationship they're already building would be a plus should he choose Illinois.

"Knowing that the guys you play with trust you and that you trust them is big. If I went to play with them in college, I know I would like the guys, they're cool guys."

The home-state ties are also something that Brown is keeping in mind when it comes to the Illini.

"I'm an Illinois guy," he said. "This has been my home state my whole life. If they could keep all the Illinois kids in-state and win, I feel like a lot more Illinois kids would come there."

Brown already likes Illinois, but there's one piece of the puzzle for him that's not quite there at this point.

"The academics are great and the facilities are great," he said. "the only thing right now that's missing is winning more games."

In the mean time, Brown will likely make the trip down to Illinois with his team this summer.

"I'll be going down there with my high school team for some 7 on 7's," he said. "so I'll be down there for a couple days."

Aside from Illinois, Brown plans to hit a few other Big Ten schools this summer to showcase his abilities.

"I'll probably do camps at Iowa, Minnesota, and Michigan State," Brown said. "I may do more than that but I'm not sure yet."

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