by Chris Johnson (@chrisdjohnsonn)
Hometown: Los Alamitos, California
Ht/Wt: 6-1, 195 pounds
Other offers: none
What’s to like
One of the most important aspects of any commitment is the essential unwavering confidence that a prospect proceeds with in making his choice. After all, selecting a college is a hugely important decision for any high school football player. It’ not just about picking the best team, or the one with the nicest jerseys or locker rooms, but the benefits beyond the gridiron. It’s about making sure you select the right fit, an institution promising a highly-enjoyable four-year experience—academically, athletically, socially—preparing you for a long and fruitful career post-graduation. Terrance Brown had always envisioned himself playing at Northwestern, always felt a strong connection with the paradigmatic student-athlete institution. So when coach Pat Fitzgerald offered him a full scholarship over the phone, Brown didn’t waste any time. He committed right on the spot. Brown had received interest from Oregon State, Colorado, Cal and a handful of Ivy League schools, but he only needed one offer before officially ending his recruitment.
After committing last August, Brown spearheaded a social-media-oriented bonding campaign for NU’s 2012 commits. He used Facebook and Twitter to connect with his fellow pledges in an effort to create intra-class unity before arriving on campus for workouts this summer. (You can read more about the social media-crafted friendships promoted by Brown and others here.) The way Brown reached out to his classmen points to his enthusiasm in enhancing his overall experience at NU. His efforts have no doubt expedited the invariably awkward meet-and-greet process, and so the freshmen class heads into the season with an established baseline level of respect and appreciation that will only serve to facilitate a positive and productive training environment.
The lengths he went to streamline a friendly and favorable transition into preseason preparations is commendable, but it’s unclear how Brown will adjust to the college game. During his senior season at Los Alamitos (CA), Brown registered 77 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles en route to earning an invitation to the Orange County All-Star game. Given those impressive accolades, it’s fair to ask why he was overlooked by most BCS conference schools. He offers an intriguing blend of speed, athleticism and instinctual play well-suited for power conference football. Brown is physical in coverage and can make plays stopping the run at the line of scrimmage. There are some concerns over his straight-line speed, but with his athleticism and spatial awareness, Brown promises to be a rangy and disruptive force in the defensive backfield.
The raw physical tools are there. Now he needs to fine-tune the mental aspects of his game while improving his speed and strength. All of which should happen, provided he dedicates himself in the weight room and the film room. Brown has already improved the freshmen group dynamic by forging a sense of camaraderie. Football-wise, it remains to be seen how he will make the high school-college leap. It’s a daunting task, but Brown’s positive attitude portends a bright four-year future with the Wildcats.
Prospects for next season
The Wildcats’ secondary woes don’t need to be rehashed in this space. By now, you know the popular narrative: the defensive backfield, outside of Ibraheim Campbell, a horrifying quandary and, much like last season, is bound to get shredded on a weekly basis by opposing quarterbacks. That may or may not prove true. Though if the secondary, as anticipated, flounders in ineptitude, inserting Brown as a redemptive measure is not the safest insurance policy. For all his range, speed and tackling discipline, he simply isn’t ready to contribute this season. If anything, he could play on special teams, though wasting a year’s worth of eligibility for a menial special teams role seems inefficient.
I can’t foresee a reasonable scenario where Brown doesn’t redshirt this season. For a player with such a raw physical talent, a developmental year can do wonders for his long-term productivity. Having already shown an enthusiasm to work with his teammates, he can reinforce that sense of togetherness through scout team workouts and lifting sessions this year as he refines the mental aspects of his game and develops a physique better-equipped to take on big-time Big Ten receivers. The secondary, inexperienced and talent-bereft as it may be, won’t be helped by a true freshman still in need of some wholesale fine-tuning before his first snap of big time college football.
The redshirt year was implemented specifically for players like Brown, guys who need a year to lay a foundation for future success. There’s no doubting Brown has the right mindset heading into his first year, and that’s the best way to jump-start a successful four-year career. The secondary lacks stability this season, this much we know. Next year’s picture isn’t much brighter, meaning Brown could challenge for playing time in 2013. That’s the best he can hope for this year: paving the way for a shot at contributing next Fall.
What he’s saying
“It’s going to be exciting,” Brown said before signing his letter of intent. “It’s going to be a great start to my new future as a Wildcat. I know I made the right decision.”
What they're saying
"Standing at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds, Terrance Brown has the makings of a safety. However, it will take time for him to develop and mature in the Northwestern program. Brown certainly has high potential to make an impact later in his career."--Chris Emma, PurpleWildcats.com