It's Trevon's team now
By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector
Thursday, March 8, 2018
It is difficult to fathom East Carolina having yet another wide receiver ready to rise from college football to the National Football League.
Despite ECU’s almighty struggles to win games the last two seasons, a pedigree of professional-grade pass-catchers keeps developing in Greenville. As former Pirates Justin Hardy (Atlanta Falcons) and Zay Jones (Buffalo Bills) are becoming entrenched in the NFL as steady pros and recent grad Davon Grayson is now trying to wow the pro scouts before the draft, ECU senior Trevon Brown already fits the very same professional prototype.
In fact, he is more explosive down the field than any of his predecessors, who made their marks more with consistency and great hands. Brown has those gifts too, but he also has the two longest touchdowns in school history with a pair of 95-yard gems last season. Big plays just have a way of finding him, also including a memorable 55-yard scoring catch from quarterback Shane Carden against North Carolina in 2014.
“I don’t really visualize it anymore,” Brown said of big plays. “Our coach has been drilling it into our heads to work the body, like in boxing, where you don’t go for knockout blows. You just work the body, and when it comes it comes. So for me to have that big play threat, I just let the game flow, and when I need to make that big play I try to make it and try not to get tackled.”
Brown was tough to tackle last season as he scored seven times and cashed in his first 1,000-yard campaign with a team-high 60 receptions for 1,069 yards.
But this year, his last, is about much more than that. Long before he hopes to be the next Pirate to hear Roger Goodell call his name at the draft like Hardy (2016) and Jones (’17), and maybe Grayson too, Brown wants to cement his ECU legacy.
“I’ve always been that type of team player where I’ve always led from the back or led by action. Now I’m to the point where I’m trying to lead by voice, lead by guidance and try to show these young kids how we work around here,” said the Wilmington native, who has 15 career TDs. “That’s a big part of practice. I try to be vocal. If they hear from me, I feel like they feel it’s an accomplishment and they’re doing something good, and I get on people when they do something wrong because I want to be the best, and I got that same treatment from the older people that have been here like Zay, Cam (Worthy), Justin, Davon and all those guys. They led me in the right direction.”
Spring practice brought more change for the Pirates and head coach Scottie Montgomery, who lost would-be starting quarterback Gardner Minshew during the offseason when he left for reported family reasons but quickly ended up transferring to defending national champion Alabama.
Minshew was the man on the front end of both of those 95-yard TD tosses last season, but Brown doesn’t think the QB’s absence will affect his chances for a big senior season. He also doesn’t shy away from thinking about those two memorable TDs against West Virginia and Cincinnati.
“I often think about it because it is something, and there are a lot of receivers that came through here and I was just blessed to have that opportunity,” Brown said. “It just came with preparation and my teammates having confidence and the quarterback’s throw and the line blocking, it’s a lot that ties into that. When big plays come to me, I have to make them.”
As for the Minshew impact, Brown said most any receiver would say the same thing.
“It doesn’t matter who’s throwing the ball if you run great routes and just be a great competitor,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who’s at quarterback. I had a few touchdowns when Shane was here, (Thomas) Sirk, Gardner, (Kurt) Benkert. We adjust on the fly.”
Contact Nathan Summers at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.