Alief Elsik three-star defensive back Chris Brown announced on signing day he would sign with the Longhorns. Brown, the nation’s No. 26 safety according to 247Sports’ composite ratings, chose the Longhorns over Michigan and Florida. (247sports.com)

Football

Longhorns Class of 2016: Can Chris Brown become the next Quandre Diggs for Texas?

Talkative defensive backs both came to Texas with chip on shoulder

Posted March 16th, 2016

Advertisement
Story highlights
  • Brown said he doesn't know why he was only a three-star prospect, but that he's ready to exceed expectations.
  • Brown's nickname at Alief Elsik is "the Governor" because he likes to talk and make his opinions known.
  • Brown said he had no qualms signing in the same class as the nation's top safety, Brandon Jones, and looks forward to teaming with him..

HOUSTON — If Chris Brown’s career at Texas ends up resembling that of Quandre Diggs’, then receivers — and reporters — better be on alert.

At Alief Elsik, coaches referred to Brown as “the Governor” because he doesn’t miss many chances to articulate his thoughts.

Sound familiar?

Advertisement

“He runs the show back there,” Elsik defensive backs coach Daric Zeno said. “He’s mouthy. He’s got good communication skills.”

Diggs, who enjoyed a good spar with reporters, would most definitely approve of DBU’s latest enrollee.

Another similarity shared by the defensive backs: Both felt slighted in recruiting.

Brown, a middling three-star safety who didn’t make the American-Statesman’s Fabulous 55 list of the state’s top recruits, was considered the state’s 68th overall prospect by 247Sports’ composite ratings. He says he feels “underrated” and has “something to prove” at Texas. Diggs, who started 49 games for the Longhorns and is now entering his second season with the Detroit Lions, reacted similarly when Mack Brown’s staff took their time before extending their scholarship offer in 2011.

Brown and Diggs are Charlie Strong’s kind of guys. Edgy. Unapologetic. Mature. Bright. Confrontational when needed.

On signing day, Strong was practically beaming when he retold a conversation he’d had with Brown.

“You know, the thing I like about you, you have a chip on your shoulder,” Strong recalled telling him. “You are going to prove to everybody just how good you are.”

Brown’s profile is the ninth in our series highlighting the Longhorns Class of 2016. To catch up on the rest of the series, here’s an interactive map of Texas’ recruiting class of 2016.

It’s not as if Texas took a major leap of faith on Brown, who had the attention of many of the nation’s top programs and included Michigan and Florida in his final three. He took visits to Arizona State and UCLA, and also was offered by Oklahoma before announcing to the Longhorns on signing day.

Colt McCoy was a three-star recruit. So were Justin Tucker, Fozzy Whittaker and Earl Thomas. They’ve turned out just fine. Diggs was a four-star prospect at Angleton.

“Honestly, (I) don’t know why I was a three-star recruit,” Brown said. “I’m not blaming anybody or making any excuses. It just means I have something to prove.”

Brown, who carries a 3.4 grade-point average, is not lacking in confidence. Asked which members of UT’s class he’s most excited to team with, he mentioned Houston products Jeffrey McCulloch and Jordan Elliott, but the first name he spoke was that of Nacogdoches’ Brandon Jones, the nation’s No. 1 safety with whom Brown will be competing for playing time. Those two, along with second-year safeties DeShon Elliott and P.J. Locke III, will look to stir up the depth chart and unseat returning starters Dylan Haines and Jason Hall once fall camp rolls around. This spring, Locke is getting reps at nickel, where Brown (5-10, 199) could also find his way onto the field.

Asked specifically about signing in the same class as someone as celebrated as Jones, Brown said he embraces the competition.

“I’m a competitor,” he said. “I like to compete. I don’t want anything handed to me. I’ll cherish it more when I get it.”

After missing most of his sophomore season recovering from a meniscus tear, Brown made a splash as a junior, leading his district with five interceptions to go with 43 tackles, two forced fumbles and five pass breakups. As a senior, he added three more interceptions and kept offenses from doing much through the air; Elsik allowed only 80 passing yards per game.

In Zeno’s opinion, Brown’s top highlight was an interception he made during his junior year against Alief Taylor. Elsik’s other safety botched his coverage assignment, resulting in an open route and what should have been an easy completion down field. From the opposite hash, Brown diagnosed what was happening and took off running and made the interception.

“He’s determined to be not good, but to be great,” Zeno said.

Brown, a teammate and close friend of Elsik linebacker and Florida State signee Dontavious Jackson, is among nine of UT’s 24 newcomers who Strong’s staff did not offer until their senior seasons. Brown said that initially he preferred other schools to Texas but “every night I told myself I was going to Texas I slept well and every night I told myself I was going to another school I didn’t sleep as well.”

Brown said he believes Texas, which is off of back-to-back losing seasons, is ready to start winning and showcasing the swagger that’s been in hiding in recent years.

“If everyone plays with a chip on their shoulder like they have something to prove, I feel that’ll give us an advantage,” he said.

Comments