Looks Like University Of Illinois - Chase Brown

Aug 7, 2019

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I feel like one of those old cartoons right now where the guy has a stack of papers in his "in" box as high as the ceiling. Just knocked out a 90i post but I have eight more to write before the season. There's one basketball and two LLUOI posts that need to be written. I've started (but not finished) my "Sidney and Sydney" post. I'm headed back to camp tomorrow and will find 75 things to write about. And then there's this little issue of The Preview which I will complete in the next 19 days. I'm guessing 50,000 words come out of my fingers in the next three weeks? That's intimidating. But so exciting.

I'll knock out one of the LLUOI posts right now because I've been able to watch this player in camp. I was hoping to also cheat and write the Devon Witherspoon LLUOI after watching him in person but he hasn't been in camp (admission paperwork, I'm sure, since he just committed last week). So I'll have to write that one blind. Probably in November.

Any time I have a stack of these in front of me, I always write the one I want to write first. You can almost guarantee that the highest number of Tom Cruises will be the one I write first. Because I really like what I see from Chase Brown.

As I'm sure you know, he's Sydney Brown's twin brother. We added Sydney Brown to the 2018 class the day before signing day - our super-secret Florida recruit - and the day Sydney signed with Illinois, his twin brother signed with Western Michigan as a running back.

Their history you might know. Grew up in Canada, wanted to expand their opportunities to play college football, and so the two brothers transferred to St. Stephen's Episcopal School in Bradenton, Florida for their junior and senior years of high school. It worked - both got Division I offers (Sydney to Illinois, Chase to WMU).

Chase had a very productive freshman season at Western Michigan. He climbed up to third-string tailback and finished the season with 352 yards on 71 carries (5.0 ypc). This season he would have been their backup tailback (or, perhaps, he would have beaten out LeVante Bellamy for the starting spot), but instead he's moving up from G5 football to P5 football. From competing for the starting spot with Bellamy to playing for Coach Bellamy.

Yes, Sydney Brown's performance as a true freshman has a lot to do with why I'm excited about Chase Brown, but I really do think this kid has serious potential. I've only watched him take minor reps here and there (when you're a sit-out transfer, you're not going to get many reps because they need to prepare the players who can actually play), but from what I've seen, I'm really excited about this kid. As far as training camp surprises, I'd put him in the top five. Hey let's make a Training Camp Surprises list.

  1. Casey Washington has fantastic hands.
  2. Chase Brown looks like a legit Big Ten running back.
  3. Tarique Barnes might be ready to contribute at linebacker as a true freshman.
  4. Keith Randolph might be ready to play right away at defensive end.
  5. Jakari Norwood might be a thing at tailback in a few years.

I probably need to clarify here. This is still a LLUOI post. Instead of film, I'm using scout team carries after practice. But this isn't a camp report where I've done a deep dive and am ready to put him on the depth chart. My reaction here should be seen as such:

"Heyyy - this kid can really play. Strong through the hole, solid Big Ten body - when we need tough yards in a few years, I think he's our guy."

And that's been a concern. With the underclassmen (and the recruits), we have some fast guys (Jakari Norwood, Reggie Love), but we don't really have any power guys for the future. I think Chase Brown can fill the role that, say, Ra'Von Bonner will fill this fall. And I think he can be better than Bonner.

The trick here is to not give him the same Tom Cruises as his brother. This can't be a "seeing double" thing where "Sydney at safety = Chase at tailback". So give me a second to look up Sydney.... OK, 3.75 Tom Cruises. I still stand by that. Kinda wish I would have pushed it to four.

And I'll put Chase just below that. I think he's a big part of our running game in a few years. Epstein and Bonner graduate after 2020, so I'm looking for big contributions from Chase in 2021 and 2022.

Chase Brown - Three and a half Tom Cruises


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