2011 Intro: John Brown

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. --- Bob Paroli, Seventy-First High School's head football coach, has a unique problem this off-season – finding a defensive position for John Brown.

"We're in a quandary as to where to play him on defense, because he can't play more than one position at one time," Paroli said. "He's a great talent. I don't think it would make any difference where you play him. I just wish I had a least two of him."

Brown began his defensive career as a reserve lineman as a freshman on the varsity level. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder won a starting end spot on a very talented defense, during his sophomore season.

"He had a great year on defense, but now he was surrounded by great people, also," Paroli said. "He played five-technique [and] six-technique. Because he's so quick off the ball and he runs so well, the worst thing people could do at that time was to run away from him, because he would catch them."

That defense held opponents to under nine points a game and helped Seventy-First win the NCHSAA 4A State Title. It consisted of two Division I-A signees – James Hopper (Virginia Tech) and Shrine Bowler Lamar McLendon (East Carolina).

A couple games into last season, an injury forced Paroli to move Brown to linebacker.

"[Linebacker] was different, but I adjusted to it fast," Brown said.

Brown went on to have an equally impressive season hence creating the dilemma.

"Defensively, I think he's better playing on the line-of-scrimmage," Paroli said. "But we might need to keep him at linebacker because of what we have on our roster."

Offensively, Brown's situation is a little clearer but it's not free of doubt. He has started at fullback since his freshman season, but Paroli can't help but imagine Brown as a tailback.

"The thing about John is he can run," Paroli said. "He's a big kid and I've contended for a long time that he would make a heck of a tailback. He has a great running style, but we have Maurice [Scruggs] and he's our best running back."

In Seventy-First's run-dominant, I-back offense, the fullback is exclusively a blocker. The only exception is in short-yardage situations.

"We will give [Brown] the ball for the tough yardage," Paroli said. "There's no hesitation to put the ball in John's hands if we're in a short yardage situation."

Colleges are even unsure where to play Brown.

"They always talk about linebacker or coming in as an athlete," Brown said.

Brown is receiving interest from Duke, East Carolina, North Carolina, and South Carolina. But he's still waiting his first scholarship offer.

Duke has shown Brown the most interest. The Blue Devils have invited him to their junior day, which he couldn't make, and their camp this summer.

In addition to Duke, Brown plans to camp at Miami and UNC.

Brown, who grew up following Miami, says he doesn't have any favorite schools.


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