Fourth-Year State Senior Leaving Legacy of Hard Work and Commitment

In one sense he’s leaving too soon. “It was fast,” Ryan Brown agrees, as his four-year Bulldog career approaches ending. “But I have no regrets.”

None at all, even if Brown is one of just three Bulldogs from the recruiting class of 2012 participating in Senior Night ceremonies. Brown will be joined by punter Devon Bell, offensive lineman Cole Carter, and injured cornerback Will Redmond taking their final bows at Scott Field.

Where, 14 teammates from their signing class will be applauding.

“It really is because I’m kind of leaving with the class above me,” Brown said. “Most of my class redshirted so it’s kind of weird. But that will be a good thing to come back and see how everything evolves.”

When Ryan Brown does come back to campus as an alumnus, he can take pride in his part played in evolving Bulldog football. He’ll be that much prouder of course if the last home game returns the Golden Egg to his campus.

Brown’s awareness of and part in the Egg Bowl is something else which has evolved over time. The New Orleans native had heard of the game during his prep years, but not much.

“Because all you hear about down there is what LSU is doing. So I didn’t really hear about it.” Now of course Brown is thoroughly versed in Egg Bowl lore and legend. He also needs a win this last time to bow-out with a break-even record in the rivalry. From his defensive end standpoint, it looks like a serious challenge against an Ole Miss offense that leads the league in all sorts of statistics.

“They’re very experienced and they have some great tackles. I’ve watched them probably about an hour today. They have a great quarterback, very athletic, likes to run it, likes to throw it deep. He’s like a gambler and will throw it deep and make his receiver go get it.”

Meaning, the Rebels are going to make plays and get yards. But that’s something Mississippi State’s defense has gotten familiar, even comfortable with. They can count on their own offensive squad’s support. So it comes down to getting Dak Prescott the ball early and often by making just enough stops.

It also means not getting caught-up in the big day’s atmosphere, to the point of distraction. “Oh, it’s going to be crazy. It’s going to be emotional,” Brown agrees. At the same time this older-than-his-years Dog has the reputation of coolest head on the defensive front. OK, maybe that isn’t setting the Bulldog-bar too high since Brown shares a meeting room with quite the cast of characters.

Still the group’s senior member has quietly put in a very effective 2015. Brown has 35 tackles on the season, behind only opposite-end A.J. Jefferson’s 43 on the line. This pair has combined for 21.0 tackles for losses including 7.5 sacks. Brown himself has broken up four throws and hurried quarterbacks officially nine times as well. Maybe the spotlight doesn’t turn his way often enough, what with Jefferson, Chris Jones, and Nick James getting the attention.

But the Dog defense and for that matter pro scouts know every well Brown’s impact. Not that he claims much personal credit. “All the work I put in and all the things that God has done for me. It’s paid off and I thank Him for it. And I’m just trying to go out with a bang.”

“Everything that God has done for me, He’s done so many things. I remember I got here and I was supposed to be redshirted. And I played as a true freshman. From then it continued to roll with unbelievable blessings. So it’s been great.”

So is seeing how the program has evolved in his own era. Brown is part of the transitional group that moved from the old Shira Complex locker rooms to the splendid Seal Center. He’s also seen Davis Wade Stadium grow into a venue befitting Bulldog football’s new status, and all that entails for the entire University.

Maybe, Brown’s State story parallels the program’s? His personal approach is worthy of imitating.

“Just continue to grind, and if things get bad you just have to play through the bad stuff. That correlates with life, continue to work and try to get better and things will get better.”

His football future looks better. Brown will certainly get his shot at professional play. Yet he’s already looked even farther ahead. Or as Brown put it, to what he hopes to be looking back on.

“Ten years down the road? Look back on this and be able to have a couple of companies under my belt, business administration. I just want to be successful.” And much farther down that road, like when he’s regaling the grandkids with college tales?

“Just tell them how crazy two a days have been, how crazy the locker room has been. And just tell them about the time I’ve had here as a student also as an athlete.” Sure to figure large in those stories is a certain defensive line-mate. In fact, once he’s a man of business would Brown hire, shall we say, Nick James for a particular position?

“Now if you asked me that three years ago, no!” Happily Brown has enjoyed watching James’ own development and maturing. Albeit, without losing the wild side just yet. So come hiring time, “We’re going to start him off small, at janitor or something.” One with a corner office of his own, of course. And James can even wear his trademark bucket hat to work, right?

“Carry a bucket or something like that,” Brown grinned.

For one more day though Brown helps carry all sorts of Mississippi State hopes and dreams onto Scott Field. With a victory, and outside aid, the Bulldogs can envision one more trip to a top-tier bowl, perhaps even the one played in Brown’s home town. Now that would be a most fitting finish imaginable for a blue collar Dog.

One who also can keep even the emotions of Senior Night at Scott Field in his own perspective. Yes, he won’t play on this field again. But..

“It’s not come to a close. It’s opened doors for me.”


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