Brown, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the Class of 2014, No. 5 overall recruit and the top player in the state of Virginia, suffered turf toe in March and missed most of spring practices. He is expected to return in time for summer camp, but was getting some first-team reps at the time of his injury. Expectations within the program are still high that Brown can be a contributor in his first season and supplement the talent returning up front.
“He’s a very intelligent young man,” said defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta. “Obviously the No. 1 thing is he likes football, so that’s a plus. He was fun at practice because every day you could see the young man work knowing, ‘I’m playing college football now against bigger, stronger, faster guys than I played in [high school]. It’s a shame what happened to him, but health-wise, once he comes back and gets himself 100 percent ready to go, he’s going to make a lot of strides here come camp and going into the season. I just like his whole demeanor.”
At 6-foot-4, 300 pounds, Brown is a physically gifted athlete who enrolled early already looming larger than many of his older teammates. He still attended all of the position meetings this spring and was constantly learning off the field even though he wasn’t always on it. Virginia has significant shoes to fill on the defensive line, as defensive end Jake Snyder and defensive tackle Brent Urban both have to be replaced, but there is enough experience on the roster that Brown doesn’t have to come in and be a superstar.
He just has to stay healthy.