Huskers going after top DT in Florida

Don't tell defensive tackle John Brown that size matters. As the stereotypical heights and weights are soaring at every position, it's those that don't fit those stereotypes, who are seemingly getting lost in the shuffle. Not Brown. He's used his size to his advantage and tall or not, he's one of the best defensive interior players around.

It's quite possible that when Warren Sapp first put his hand down on the football field, people thought to themselves that this guy was too short and he wasn't going to be able to stand up to the competition. It didn't take long before people realized that everything they thought about how big a defensive player should be, wasn't exactly accurate.

6-2, 285 pound Lakeland high school defensive tackle John Brown knows exactly how he feels.

"Oh yeah, some guys you face, they think that because you aren't this 6-5 guy, they can take you off the ball," Brown said. "I'm just smiling, because I know what's about to happen."

It usually starts with an explosion, not quite that of Sapp, but pretty quick for someone of his size. Brown gets up into the hole and that's when hell starts to break loose. That's his time, the moment where he gets to do what he wants, because as Brown said, there's only one reason he's on that field at all.

"Whatever the play is, I'm there to blow it up," he said. "I play the three and the one, but whatever it is, but that play isn't going to happen by me."

Brown does that with some obvious attributes, being able to use leverage when he doesn't have the clear advantage in size. His 400 pound bench doesn't hurt. But Brown brings one more thing to the fray, which has helped him maintain his standard of play, but it's that standard that got opponents into the habit of prompting that one thing in the first place.

"I'm pissed off from the second I get on the field to when it's over," Brown said. "All the doubling they do on me, all the cutting they do – those guys try everything to stop me and knock me off my cleats."

"It pisses you off after awhile, so all you are thinking is that if you are in front of me, man, I'm knocking you straight out of my way. Behind you is where I want to be."

Brown is good at that, but he's even better at what he does once he gets behind the line. Like any good and honorable football player, Brown will tell you that he's not out to end a career, but ending your game isn't going to bother him that much. Two seasons ago, against Mainland high school, he ended a quarterback's season.

"Yeah, that was a good hit," Brown said laughing. "He was rolling out and he rolled the wrong way, right into me. I thought I took his shoulder clean off."

A broken collarbone isn't all that serious, though, the quarterback might disagree. For Brown, it's just part of the job. All this and more are plenty of reasons why so many schools want him doing that job for them.

"I'm getting lots of letters, but the offers are from Alabama, Ole Miss, Nebraska and Pitt right now," Brown said. "I get letters from just about everyone else.

Everyone else includes the big three in Florida and Brown isn't hesitating when he talks about what it would be like to play for any of those particular schools. Yeah, he's open right now, but if all three offered, his choices might become a lot easier. "That would be big for sure," Brown said of getting offers from Florida, Florida State and Miami. "I suppose that's what you dream of down here. I can't say that means I would go to any of them, but they would be hard to pass up."

From the Huskers' standpoint, they are going to need bigguns on the defensive interior like Brown and Brown actually knows a little about Nebraska. And oddly enough, it's not about their recent history and all the changes they have made. He remembers them from the glory days not so long ago. "They used to win national titles all the time," John said of the Huskers. "Lots of tradition there and it's all about football."

That is ideally what Brown would like to experience, seeing himself playing with and against real football players on a real football team. It's just a matter of finding out just who that is.

As it is, Brown said that if he did have a top five right now, the big three would top the list, followed by Nebraska and Alabama. But at least for right now, he said he's open to any and all. "You know, maybe the Florida schools would be perfect for me, but that doesn't mean they are," he said. "You have to go check it out for yourself to see if it's really what you like."

"Maybe I'll end up going out of state. Right now I don't know. But I plan on taking my time to figure it all out."

Brown will try to attend various camps and combines throughout the year, including the March 19th U.S. Army All-American Combine at Jacksonville University on March 19th.

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