Christian Brown Embracing Opportunity with WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Christian Brown Embracing Opportunity with WVU

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MORGANTOWN -

Christian Brown wants to be back out on the football field. The freshman defender has waited long enough, and the itch to return to the game has almost become too much.

Brown played his junior season at Dunbar High School in Fort Myers, Fla. before transferring to Bridgeton in New Jersey to be closer to his brother. But he did not last the entire season.

With four games remaining, he left head coach Dave Ellen and his Bridgeton teammates behind and chose to sit out the rest of his final season of high school football.

"It was tough, but I just had to work through it and keep my head up, stay positive. I'd say it was just a misunderstanding with me and the coaches. Miscommunication. That basically was it," says Brown.

Ellen said in a December interview that he did not fully understand what led to him losing a talented athlete like Brown, but he wished him luck in the recruiting process and was confident that whatever team landed him would be thrilled to have done so.

West Virginia was that team and now, in the second full week of fall camp, Brown is proving his high school coach right.

At 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, Brown passes the eye test. Unlike many true freshmen on the defensive line, he has the size to compete right away with the big bodies he lines up against.

Brown says his desire to play football could surpass that of his teammates simply due to the fact that he did not get to finish his high school career the way he would have liked. Now he is doing all he can to take advantage of his current opportunity in Morgantown.

"I couldn't have the mindset that I was going to come in and dominate," says Brown. "I had to keep working and pay attention in meetings, pay attention to the things that I have to do as far as my plays, keying gaps, keying running backs and quarterbacks and little stuff like that."

Those technical aspects of the game are precisely where defensive line coach Erik Slaughter believes Brown is still lacking. Slaughter has no real problem with that, though. He expects it of a freshman and feels that what Brown brings to the table outside of those techniques is what makes him a valuable asset to his line.

"I would much rather have that than have a guy that's technical but can't do that – be the tough, nasty player," says Slaughter. "He's tough and nasty, so now that's my job as the coach to get the technical things corrected. As long as we can start there, which I think all those freshmen have that in them, then the technical part will come."

Shaq Rowell, a senior nose tackle for the Mountaineers, doesn't shy away from showering his new teammate with compliments. He went so far as to guarantee that Brown will see playing time this fall, even if it means limiting some more veterans players' snaps.

"That kid is showing me some stuff that I haven't really seen before out of a freshman and I'm very impressed with him," Rowell says of Brown. "I feel like he's ready to come in and play right away and if he starts over me, it is what it is… At the end of the day, I just want to win and that's it."

Brown is hoping he can bring something to WVU on a defensive line that is looking to create a deep rotation at each position. If he continues to grow physically while improving what he learns in meetings and film room, he can become a player the team counts on.

He will be the first to tell you he isn't quite there yet. But camp is not over, and kickoff of his freshman season is still weeks away.
"I'm ready to step in," he says. "If Coach has the confidence in me stepping in, then I'll step in and play my role and try to make good plays, try to help my team win the Big 12."

The opportunity is there. It's up to Brown now what he will do with it.

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