Brown Back Again

DeKalb running back Dre Brown has long had heavy interest in Illinois. One of four schools that offered the back, Illinois hosted Brown for another visit on Saturday.

Illinois was one of the first schools to extend an offer to DeKalb running back Dre Brown, and since then, the tailback has seen his stock rise significantly. Still, that hasn't changed his interest in Illinois.

, Playing at DeKalb has been a bit of a roller coaster throughout Dre Brown's high school career. Now under the guidance of his third head coach in three years, he feels like things might just turn around for the better this year. Their one loss so far came by just one point.

"It's been really exciting so far," Brown said. "We're 1-1 right now, but our upcoming schedule looks pretty good. As for me, I've noticed that I can carry more of the load. I just want to keep progressing."

During the offseason, Brown improved quite a bit. One particular area he spent more time on was his defensive back skillset. He's ready to do whatever he needs, whether on offense or defense, to help his team win.

"Most of the teams in our conference run the ball," he said, "so I won't get too many chances. But against passing teams I'll get some reps. I've noticed my strength is improved. I'm trying to be more durable so I can carry more of the load."

Brown has been a staple on varsity already at DeKalb, but now, several of his classmates are now on the field with him, and that's something that has Brown optimistic.

"I'm pretty confident in my team," he said. "I'm finally playing along with the junior class, and we feel like we can have a good year."

The new coach is another big source of optimism. While the head coaching position at DeKalb has been in flux, Brown believes that the one they have now will stick and help build the program.

"This is my third varsity coach in three years, so I've constantly been adapting," he said, "but I feel like I've known him forever, so we'll see how the season goes. He'll stick around. He was pretty successful at Belvediere, so I think he'll stay a while."

The new system that comes with a new coach will also put the ball in Brown's hands a lot more. He's ready to carry the load.

"I think this year will be great, especially with the pistol offense," he said. "With me just being the one back, I get a lot of carries and can do a lot of other things out of the backfield." Brown currently holds offers from Illinois, Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Kent State. Brown hasn't landed any recent offers, but quite a few BCS offers seem to be right on the horizon.

"I haven't really gotten any offers recently," he said, "but I have been getting a lot of interest. Indiana has been pursuing me hard. Cincinnati and Missouri are pursuing hard too. I feel like once another couple schools offer, a lot more could come. I'm really close to an offer from Indiana now."

Illinois was early to offer Brown. That along with the proximity to home make Illinois a very attractive destination for Brown.

"Illinois has been in my recruitment since day 1," he said. "They'll definitely be in my top schools no matter what. Playing in my home state is probably the most attractive thing about it. All my family lives in Decatur and Springfield, so for them to come and watch my games every week would be big."

For now, Brown continues to accustom himself to the Illinois staff and program. He's taken several visits and plans to be in Chicago when the Illini take on Washington at Soldier Field.

"I want to just keep establishing my relationship with the coaches and hopefully get around to see more of the campus side of the school soon," he said. "Really I talk to all of the coaches. I really like Salem and Beckman a lot. I'll be at Illinois this coming weekend for the Soldier Field game. After that I'm hoping to get to Indiana and Missouri."

And as for the big win over Cincinnati, which Brown was able to see, he saw a lot of things about Illinois that made him think that the offense was rounding the corner.

He said, "I was very impressed by the team win and I was excited to see the offense dominate."

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