Brown shows he has all the right moves

One of the pleasant surprises of the SoCal combine was the performance of Southwestern DE Leonard "L.J." Brown (6-5, 268), who has took the long way to becoming a top D-1 prospect. After an excellent offseason, Brown is ready to show everyone what he can do this year and he's already gotten lots of attention from BCS schools across the country.

"After high school I went into the military (Navy) and that really helped me to mature and learn about myself," Brown told recently. "I'm 25 now and when I was getting ready to get out of the military everyone said I should follow my heart and play some college football."

Brown was a standout receiver in high school and faced off daily with Stranahan High School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) teammate Reynaldo Hill, who now plays cornerback for the Tennessee Titans, and said he thought he could play at a high level if one of his good friends could do it.

"I felt like Southwestern was a good family atmosphere for me to go to," Brown recalls. "The coaches care a lot about their players and they really want you to feel at home and comfortable. I really love playing here and for them."

Brown plays the strongside defensive end in Southwestern's scheme and he said he's been working on some moves this summer to help him become a better pass-rusher.

"In JUCO everyone has one move and that's basically what they use," Brown said. "But when I was watching the D-1 defensive ends they were always working off their second and third moves and so I felt like, if I wanted to get to the next level, I needed to get better at using counter moves and stuff like that so that's been my focus this summer.

"I worked really hard on new moves and my get-off and just keeping my pad-level lower so it was easier to hold the point better."

Brown's excellent athleticism allowed him to make the SoCal All-Combine team when he posted a 5.14 forty time, a 4.67 short-shuttle, a 25-inch vertical and a solid 18 reps of 225 pounds on the bench.

On the recruiting front several schools have already let Brown know they will be watching his first few games to see where he's at from a development standpoint before they decide to offer him.

"Washington State, Iowa State, San Diego State, Temple, Kansas State, Arizona State, Utah and UTEP have all been on my pretty hard this summer," Brown said. "They all said they wanted to see my first three or four games and get some more tape on me before they could offer and that's fine because I'm confident they will like what I can do."

Being from Florida, it might make sense to think Brown would like to head back east to be closer to his family, but he said that won't play much of a factor in where he ends up.

"Really it has to feel like a family atmosphere to me," Brown said. "I love the feeling that I get here at Southwestern so that means a lot and I want that same feeling wherever I end up.

"Basically everything is going to play into where I end up. First off, they have to offer me, but second I really want to look at the coaching staff and players and see how I get along with everyone.

"Then it will be about my major – I want to be a fireman and not a lot of schools have a Fire Science major. Then it would be about playing time and then I would probably look at location."

Brown will finish up his classes this December and he'll have three years to play two wherever he ends up.

He and his Southwestern teammates face off against Riverside at home in their first game this Saturday.

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