COVINGTON, Ga. — For defensive back DeJuan Brown, his size, or lack thereof for a player in his position as a defensive back, was not going to stop him from pursuing a football career past high school.
As he signed his letter of intent to play at Highland Community College (Kansas) Wednesday, he knew that he was cementing a future that was sure not only educationally, but in his time on the field as well.
“It feels great,” he said. “Coach told me that I could come in and start right away, and that was a big deal, and I’m ready to play.”
Aside from being guaranteed to start almost instantly, the decision was easy enough for him in many other ways as well.
“I have former teammates that actually go there, and they were telling me about the program,” he said. “They said it was a very nice program, and that it was an easy and quick way to get you out very soon.”
With 11 offers on the table, the recruiting process was one filled with many questions and thoughts about his future. Although Brown had no Division I offers, he had plenty of D2 and D3 ones, and felt Highlands would best serve him as not only a potential way to the next level — preferably Division I — but just a good school, in general, to start his college career.
“I wanted to go the JUCO route so that maybe I can transfer in a year and get that D1 offer,” he said. “But that really wasn’t the most important thing. I just wanted to find that right school that was best for me. Everybody dreams of playing in the league one day, so I’m just trying to fulfill it.”
Despite being generously listed at 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, Brown played big for the Rams, recording 51 total tackles, including four for losses. He also snagged two interceptions, returning one 98 yards, and totaled four pass breakups.
It was in his recruiting process, however, that he faced road blocks when it came to schools looking at him — or not looking at him — primarily because of his size.
“I faced a lot of obstacles,” he said. “A lot of coaches backed out on me because of my size. But then this one coach hit me up, and it really hit me in my heart that he believed in me even with my size. He said he’s worked with players my size and has gotten them to the D1 level.”
As for a skill or quality that Brown believes he can bring to the Scotties of Highland, Kansas, there was one that immediately rose to the front of his mind.
“Swag,” he said with a laugh. “I’m going to bring a lot of swag to the football team along with my technique. But I’m also going in there to learn and be a sponge so that I can soak in whatever they teach me.”
Much like the hundreds of athletes who signed their letters of intent on Wednesday, Brown began to get a little reflective about his time at Newton, noting that his favorite moment of the season came by way of a pick-six against Arabia Mountain.
“I had a lot of favorite moments, but that was my first high school touchdown,” he said. “That meant a lot to me.”
Brown is the perfect example of making it to the collegiate level regardless of size, and he hopes that others will work hard and take note of the path he traveled.
“This year I was playing with a lot of sophomores,” he said. “I was the main leader of the defensive back group, so I just want them to follow in my footsteps and be even better and get those D1 offers that I didn’t get.”