College Football Preview: East Carolina at Southern Miss
JACKSON, Miss. ó Beware, cornerbacks of Conference USA, DeAndre Brown is for real.
Southern Miss’ freshman wide receiver is as dominating and destructive as every coach and recruiting expert in the land predicted a year ago. At 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash, he should probably be lining up in the SEC. Instead, he chose the Golden Eagles and coach Larry Fedora is using him like a bludgeon.
“He’s got stupid stats for a freshman,” said East Carolina coach Skip Holtz, who must find a way to slow down Brown today in Hattiesburg. “The stats that he’s throwing up are junior- and senior-type numbers.”
Yes, those statistics are dazzling, especially considering Brown was playing in high school a year ago. He leads all freshmen in the Bowl Subdivision with 11 touchdown catches and 93.3 yards per game, and is 13th overall in the nation in total yards receiving at 933 on 55 catches.
Brown has caught scoring passes in four straight games, totaling eight in that stretch, and six of the last seven contests. He is just two shy of Sherrod Gideon’s school record. And he’s 13th in the nation in total yards receiving at 933 on 55 catches.
Brown’s big-play ability and 16.9 yards per catch average were the kinds of things nearly every coach in America coveted as Brown prepared for college. He had offers from all the big schools and appeared headed for LSU when he surprised everyone by making Fedora’s first recruiting class at Southern Miss (4-6, 2-4 C-USA) a top-50 entry.
He’s exceeded all expectations so far and will become even more important to Southern Miss’ success with the team’s top two running backs, Damion Fletcher and Tory Harrison, injured and likely out against the Pirates (6-3, 4-1), the East Division’s top team.
Brown said his early success is just more proof Southern Miss was the school for him.
“At the time I had everybody basically in the nation looking at me,” he said. “I just feel real comfortable here. The numbers that I have here I know I really could’ve produced anywhere else so that helped me make my choice to stay close to home because I knew I can do everything I wanted at Southern Miss as any SEC school.”
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