Brown, a 6-foot-4, 255-pounder, was a three-year starter at both wide receiver and defensive back for Austin (Texas) Connally. However, he was more known for his accomplishments on the hardwood.
"He was an outstanding basketball player – that was his big thing," Smith said. "He was being looked at by some schools to play basketball."
Regardless, Brown's combination of size and athleticism attracted several Division I football programs. However, his academic situation delayed his D1 career.
"As everybody knows, my grades weren't as good at the time," Brown said. "Therefore I had to go settle for junior college and then work my way up."
In addition to Blinn, Brown considered Navorro JC and Trinity Valley CC. However, location and comfort led him to Blinn.
"He came up to a couple games, he saw the campus, and enjoyed it. I think the big thing was he wanted to go somewhere where his buddies were," Smith said.
"Blinn was right down the road from home," Brown said. "My parents could come and visit me."
Brown arrived at Blinn as an athlete. However, after several weeks on campus, the coaching staff saw him grow into a tight end.
"He came in and was just a big kid," Smith said. "When he got here, got into a weight program, he just blossomed. He put a lot of muscle on and turned into a pretty good sized kid. When that happened, that's when we made the decision to sit him down [and] talk to him [about his position]."
Despite assuming he'd play wide receiver, Brown was open-minded to the move to tight end.
"I was like ‘I can give it a shot,' because I know I'm not as fast as a receiver," Brown said. "But I know I could play at the tight end position and still get the ball."
As expected, Brown found initial difficulty in the transition to his new position.
"I had to learn how to block," Brown said. "I never had a problem catching the ball, so blocking was the hardest adjustment."
Blinn runs a balanced offense, which utilizes a one-tight end Ace formation as its base formation. According to Smith, Brown rarely left the field on offense.
"He's a good blocker and ran good routes, so we didn't primarily use him just for blocking," Smith said. "My backup tight end, he mostly came in on two-tight end sets – he was used mostly for blocking. But Prizell was in there for passing downs [and] running downs, and blocked and was a receiving option. He played in short yardage situations and on third-and-long [situations]."
Given his athleticism, the Blinn coaching staff was able to be creative with their use of Brown.
"With him being a natural athlete at the tight end spot, we did a lot of motion stuff of motioning him into the backfield using him as a blocker, motioning him into the backfield and getting him the ball," Smith said.
Brown was also on several special teams units.
After ending his freshman season with 15 catches for 117 yards and five touchdowns, as well as 11 carries for 51 yards and a score, Brown drew interest and several scholarship offers from Division I-A schools.
Check back tomorrow for Part II ...