Explosive End Brown Has Waited His Turn

It takes some football players longer than others to reach their maximum potential. This is especially true when they must sit out a year before getting into a game. Defensive end Jerry Brown now has a year's experience under his belt, and it's making all the difference for him.

A Prep-Star All-American out of St. Louis, Missouri (Vashon), Brown was expected to see action as a freshman and dominate from then on. But a delay in approving his eligibility by the NCAA Clearinghouse forced him to take a redshirt year. Getting to play last season helped him forget his troubles.

"Last year, my experience with getting those plays felt good. My redshirt freshman year was pretty hard. But when I got out there, I got about 10-15 plays a game, I was just listening to D-Walk (Derek Walker) and Will (Davis), just making the best of the plays I got."

The redshirt year brought him up on the speed of the game, but it didn't prepare him for one important aspect of major college football.

"The thing I had to get over was the crowd, when I was asked to play in front of a lot of people. Hearing the crowd when you're trying to make a play, it's crazy. When I go out there this year, I feel like I should be more productive when I'm in front of a big crowd."

Brown has always had the speed and athleticism to excel in college, but now he has the confidence to go with it.

"I'm very confident. I'm ready to go right now. It's still a few days away, but I'm ready to get out there and play. The difference from last year to now is I know what I can do in front of a big crowd and a big opponent. I'm just ready to get out there."

Also helping him is the extra muscle mass he added since spring.

"I've definitely bulked up since spring. I've put on 10 pounds of muscle from the spring to the summer. It's a big help. I've always been fast, I've always been quick. Now with my bull rush, it is helping me out with my other moves. It definitely hasn't hurt my quickness."

Jerry dominated each of the last two springs, so fans expect a great deal from him. But playing against other teams requires him to study opponents to duplicate what he does against his teammates.

"It's definitely different. I did all that in the spring because I was going against guys I play against every day. So it's not hard to know their moves and know what they do.

"When you translate to the season, I'm looking at film, becoming a student of the game like J. Leman said. Watch the film. Figure out what the guy is going to do beforehand. So that's what I've been doing from spring to now."

He has also been doing conditioning since spring, including running up the Memorial Stadium steps repeatedly.

"It gets us through times like right now. We've been in camp for three weeks. If it wasn't for those stairs, if it wasn't for Coach Lou's program, we wouldn't be out here doing this right now."

Brown has significant competition for playing time at defensive end since the two positions are loaded with quality prospects. But he wouldn't have it any other way.

"I love it. We've got a lot of young guys, so it gives me time to actually teach them. So if I can teach the game, I know the game myself."

Missouri is an important game for Jerry Brown since he is from St. Louis and has friends on both sides of the field.

"It's about half and half. I have friends from Mizzou, like Will Franklin was from Mizzou (graduated wide receiver), but all my friends and family translate over to the Illinois side."

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