From Baltimore to Greenville to Hargrave and now to NC State, Wolfpack running back Andre Brown has taken the long and winding road to get to Raleigh. The Parade all-american has made a solid impact during fall camp, and we caught up with him recently to talk about his transition to college football.
When you were at Rose High School, you were the feature guy on a state championship team. Now, at NC State, you find yourself battling with five other talented players for carries. Talk about how you've adjusted.
Mentally, I feel like it's competition because when T.A. [McLendon] was here, when they had Josh [Brown], when Darrell [Blackman] and Bobby [Washington] came in, I wanted to compete because I love to compete. It's just going to make all of us better. I feel that all of us are pretty good backs. I feel like whoever the is the starting guy, he's going to be a well-deserving guy because it's not going to be times when he can slack off in practice, because, if you slack off, hey, there's Toney [Baker] with another big run or that's Bobby with a nice catch and run down the field for a score. It's just that we're all pretty good backs so it's going to be fun this year.
What's been the biggest adjustment from Hargrave to NC State?
Trying to block guys like Mario Williams off the end. It's just that they're so big and quick. At Hargrave we went up against some big, quick guys but Mario Williams is huge and we can't cut him in practice. If we cut him in practice, Chuck would cut our heads off. So, like yesterday in the scrimmage, I ran up there to try to block him and he just clubbed me and moved me out of the way. It's just the strength and the size that's totally different. Hargrave was fast but the defense at NC State is just bigger and faster.
You and Toney Baker were both highly regarded out of high school. How have you two hit it off so far?
Yeah, me and Toney are cool. We live together. We go out. Me and Toney are real cool. It's nothing like, he's Toney and I'm Andre and we're not supposed to be tight. It's not like that with any of the backs. We all laugh and joke on each other. I'm the cutest guy and they all say that.
Can you give a scouting report on the other backs?
Toney is strong. He is a very powerful back. He comes in benching like 450 and he's fresh out of high school. I'm like, how are you benching 450 out of high school? He's strong. Darrell has the best hands I've ever seen on a running back. Bobby, he's a slasher. He has big, slashing cuts and makes people fall all the time. Reggie, I would say he's experienced and he's the big, power back. He's more of a , "I'm not making any moves. If you're a DB, you're getting run over." That's Reggie's mentality. Me, I think I'm a combination of power and speed.
What were you feeling when you didn't get the score you needed and had to go to Hargrave for a year?
It was a big disappointment. I felt like I failed and in reality, I did. But, all of a sudden, I said God did this for reason and he wanted me to realize that not everything comes easy and he wanted me to work at it. He just put me in a mind frame that with school, there's no playing around. When it's time to study, you study. If I've got to be in there four hours studying then I'm doing it. It's no more playing around with school anymore. It's strict business when it comes to school. If I've got a test tomorrow then I'm in the bed the night before rested and ready to take that test tomorrow. It's just stuff like that and it's helped me out a lot.
Had everything come easy for you before finding out that you had to go to Hargrave?
I would say no and yes in a way. I would really work it, like, football-wise in high school, I would wake up in the mornings and go run and run after games and do all that stuff. So, hard work pays off. I was doing that but, otherwise, like school, I'd just get in there and I wouldn't do it. I wasn't applying myself. I would have to say I was very lazy in high school. Not that I'm stupid or dumb or anything, I'm a really smart kid. I mean, I was on honor roll before I moved to Greenville and then I had all that freedom. My mom wasn't there asking me where my homework was at. So, I just had that freedom where, my cousin was gone, he's gone for the weekend and I'm here so I'm going to go out and have fun for the weekend. It's just that I was put in a bad predicament. My mom would call and ask if I was doing my work but she's six hours away so I'm like, yeah, sure. I did my work. That's just how it was, and I had to grow up quick.
That 10 points wasn't coming after all that studying. I'm like, what in the world. And then finally I just sat down, prayed about it, and the next test I went in there and got 30 points over and then all that joy came back. I went on the internet and saw I was qualified and all I had to do was stay there until May and, once I left Hargrave, I said I was never going back.