Donald Brown entered the 2008 NFL draft after a brilliant junior season with the UConn Huskies. Leading the nation in rushing with 2083 yards, Brown was named MVP of the International Bowl behind a 261 yard effort. He was also named Big East Player of the Year and to the All-American team.
At age 22, the 5’-10”, 210 lb. Running back has a compact build, great vision and is deceptively fast once he reaches the second level. He can also be a receiving threat with good hands and explosive after catch yardage. Yes, he has marginal size for blocking and does not have elite speed, despite having the 5th best running back time, clocking a 4.51 at the NFL combine. However, Donald Brown has that immeasurable quality that all the great backs have and that is heart. His desire to prove that a back from Connecticut can make it big on the big stage is obvious.
Brown will report to training camp on time now that he has agreed to an undisclosed deal, as the number one pick of the Indianapolis Colts, 27th overall. He could not have asked for a better fit. Indianapolis was 30th in the league in rushing last year. Both of the Colts top two running backs suffered knee injuries during the 2008 season requiring off- season surgery. Joseph Addai only played 12 games last season with a meager 544 yards on 155 attempts. That’s a 3.5 yard average. He also only scored 5 times with 1 fumble. Mike Hart only carried the ball twice for 9 yards before being knocked out for the season. There has been some speculation that the Colts might bring Edgerrin James back to shore up the backfield.
Brown recently got together with his idol former Giants running back Tiki Barber to discuss life as an NFL rusher. Ironically, Barber got his shot as a result of injuries ahead of him on the depth chart. Barber made the best of his opportunity and never looked back. Donald Brown is in a similar situation.
Football life began for Donald Brown in his hometown of Atlantic Highlands, NJ where his Pop Warner teammate was none other then Denver draft choice Knowshon Moreno. Both Brown and Moreno went on to have successful high school careers in the New Jersey Shore League. Brown rushed for 2032 yards and 27 touchdowns in his senior year at Red Bank Catholic High School and was named 2nd team All-State before going on to star at UConn.
The road to success in the NFL is never easy, nor is it a guaranteed that making a team will lead there. When talent and ability are combined with desire and determination, good things can happen. Add a pinch of luck and Donald Brown can’t miss.