One Mor Year

Morkeith Brown is 26 years old, and when Temple's training camp opened on Friday he welcomed teammates as young as 17. Still, the senior defensive end didn't feel old. "Not at all," said Brown. "I'm still stronger, I'm still faster and I'm just a little smarter."

Morkeith Brown is 26 years old, and when Temple's training camp opened on Friday he welcomed teammates as young as 17.

Still, the senior defensive end didn't feel old.

"Not at all," said Brown. "I'm still stronger, I'm still faster and I'm just a little smarter."

The 6-foot-6, 260-pounder joined the Army out of high school and spent a semester at Lackawanna Junior College before coming to the Owls in 2008.

He says if he had it to do over, he would take the exact same path, which has allowed him to continue his career at an age four or five years beyond when most players have finished their eligibility.

"I'm doing something almost every guy in the world would like to do," said Brown. "Only two percent of high school kids play college football, and (I'm) playing Division I football at that, so for me to be here I really appreciate it, and I appreciate the coaches giving me the opportunity."

Brown came to Temple as a defensive end and scored a touchdown on a fumble return in his first collegiate game against Army. Midway through his sophomore year, he was moved to tight end and he made nine starts on offense a year ago.

But this spring, Brown was switched back to defense and earned Most Improved Defensive Player honors in spring drills.

"I moved to offense because we needed it," said Brown. "We needed a bigger, more powerful tight end. They felt like I could feel that void, and I try to be a team player, help us win, so that's what I did. But I prefer defense by far. I'm more of an aggressive person. (Offense) is more thinking, and it's less physical. I like to be physical.

"With a little hard work, I can get right back to where I left off (as a defensive player) and maybe a little farther, advance myself, be better than what I was. It's a lot easier going back to defense than switching to offense. It's more natural for me."

New defensive coordinator Chuck Heater is installing a defense that suits Brown's physical nature on the football field.

"He has an aggressive coaching style," said Brown. "It's all about getting to the ball and making plays. I wasn't on defense last year, but from what I can see it's more of an attack defense and less of a scheme defense."

Brown appears to be in line to start at defensive end opposite former Mid-American Conference Player of the Year Adrian Robinson, and Heater raved about the attributes Brown brings to the table.

"He's been great, not only from a football standpoint, but he's a grown man," said Heater. "He's had experiences in life not everybody has had and he sees it differently. He's a serious guy about what he's doing. He brings that to the table and has a real positive impact on players.

"His attitude, his maturity. … guys respect him. He was a good guy for us to get. I know it was hard for (the offensive coaches) to let him go."

Added head coach Steve Addazio: "He's one of the better leaders on the football team. He's tough, he cares. He's one of the accountable leaders on the football team, and I really, really like him a lot."

Brown knows being a veteran on the field as well as being a little older lends itself to being a leader, and he often speaks to teammates about what it takes to thrive outside of a college environment.

"Some of my teammates who know me well ask me a lot of questions about the outside life," said Brown. "Is it hard, what's harder, who do you have to do to succeed?

"I just try to lead by example, do the right things on the field and off the field, get my school work done, and when I'm on the field, go hard every play."

A criminal justice major who graduated in May, Brown aspires to be a secret service agent or a SWAT team member when he leaves Temple. But he's ready for his final season of college football, and he knows no matter what the age discrepancy, all players are the same on the football field.

"(Freshmen) might be a little immature, but football is football, you just play," said Brown. "In the NFL, there's 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds. There is no age gap, it's just football."

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