|J.C. Smith OT Alvin Brown uses second chance to make good|
|Senior overcame academic issues to succeed|
|Published Saturday, November 9, 2019 12:26 am|
|PHOTO | CURTIS WILSON|
|Johnson C. Smith offensive tackle Alvin Brown (right) returned to school after dropping out in 2018 for academic reasons. He's the lone senior starter on a line that has developed one of the CIAA's best ground attacks with redshirt freshman Emanuel Wilson 7 yards within the 1,000-yard barrier.|
Alvin Brown didn’t know how much he’d miss football until it was gone.
Brown, Johnson C. Smith’s left tackle, left school last year due to academics, but a change of heart convinced him to pull his grades together. After a talk with head coach Kermit Blount, Brown returned to campus and assumed his role as leader on the offensive line.
“It definitely made me hungry and a lot more humble,” he said. “It made me realize how much I missed the game.”
Blount was happy to welcome his best lineman back, although the 6-5, 330-pound senior from Dania Beach, Florida could’ve returned for the final five games of 2018 when his eligibility was restored.
“He wanted to come back,” Blount said. “Actually, we got him cleared around the fifth game last year, but we both agreed to wait the year out and get a fresh start and I’m happy he did because he brings leadership to our offense.
Brown is showing his appreciation with a strong senior campaign and getting on track academically. JCSU’s coaches convinced Brown, a business administration major, he owed himself an opportunity to graduate in May as well as help the football team, which is 3-6 going into Saturday’s Commemorative Classic against Livingstone in the annual renewal of black college football’s oldest rivalry.
“I was happy to come back not only because I got a second chance but the coaches who recruited me saw the potential in me,” said Brown, who sat out the 2018 season although he was eligible the final five games. “This season could’ve been a lot better, but I know we’ve definitely progressed from last season and coming into this game I’m pretty excited about it. I can’t wait to play, and I can definitely say I’ve enjoyed this season. I’ve learned a lot.”
The one thing Brown didn’t have to learn is size. Although he usually outweighs opposing linemen by 40 or 50 pounds, Brown has the strength and agility to compete against anyone.
“He’s very athletic,” Golden Bulls middle linebacker David Francis said. “He’s very fast for his weight. He moves a lot, he knows how to move his [feet], and that’s the difference between him and other linemen. Footwork is his tool – that and his long [arms]. He puts that reach on you and you can’t get off.”
JCSU has benefited from Brown’s presence. His blocking has helped the Golden Bulls develop into one of the better ground attacks in the CIAA with redshirt freshman Emanuel Wilson 7 yards from breaking the 1,000-yard barrier. As the lone senior starting lineman, his leadership is valuable.
“He’s the glue, he’s the elder statesman,” Blount said. “He’s the one that kind of holds them together.”
Said Francis: “He’s just that leader on the offensive side. When I’m on defense, he’s got that offense ready to go. He’ll talk to you, get you right, tell you what’s wrong and get you back up to what you need to be doing.”
It’s part of the job, said Brown, who said he’ll start training to pursue professional football opportunities at the end of JCSU’s season.
“I try not to sound too much like a coach,” he said. “I try to sound like an actual leader on the team. Certain players tend to use too much of their powers to criticize a player, especially if you’re playing with him, so by me being a leader, it’s all about how you talk to people, how you show and lead by example.”
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