Seneca Valley grad putting up impressive numbers at Maryland
By Adam Bittner
Published: Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Seneca Valley graduate C.J. Brown has represented his alma mater well this season at Maryland, where the quarterback has thrown for more than 1,000 yards in guiding the Terrapins to a fast start.
As he was quick to note, though, the Raiders have done a pretty good job of representing themselves.
“I was pretty excited when I heard they beat [North Allegheny],” Brown said of Seneca Valley's 20-6 win against the Tigers on Sept. 13, which snapped NA's 32-game WPIAL winning streak. “I have some friends I'm pretty close with from North Allegheny, so when I heard that, the bragging rights kind of went out the window for them for a little bit.”
Now in his fifth year at Maryland, Brown said most of his connections to the Seneca Valley program have moved on, though he said he still speaks to coach Don Holl.
The Cranberry native probably has the attention of most of today's Raiders, however, thanks to a productive comeback from a brutal injury.
When Brown tore his ACL last August, costing him the entire 2012 season, it was hard for him to imagine what was ahead for his career.
“It's been a struggle,” Brown said. “Especially last year, to go down with that injury and miss a whole year, it was hearbreaking to say the least.
“When you tear your ACL, it's a long recovery. ... Your mind tends to wander. I just had a great support group that made sure I was doing all right and made sure my head was where it needed to be.”
The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder has recovered in a big way. He said shedding his knee brace last spring was an important turning point, and since then, he's taken the Terrapins' starting job and led the Maryland offense to averaging almost 40 points per game using both his arm and feet.
He scored five total touchdowns, rushed for 105 yards and threw for 281 in a season-opening win against Florida International on Aug. 31. He added a pair of scores in a 37-0 win against West Virginia, helping give the Terps a 4-0 start.
“He's a very athletic guy, very dynamic,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He can beat you with his legs, he can beat you with his arm, he can beat you with his mind. He's a tough guy. He's a complete football player.”
Fisher is probably happy his team won't have to face Brown again after the teams met Saturday. He'll be the Big Ten's problem next year when he returns for a sixth season — the Terrapins' first in their new league — thanks to an injury waiver from the NCAA.
But Brown and his teammates are still focused on this season, which has seen them match their 2012 win total. Brown said a lot of that success is a product of knowing coach Randy Edsall's offense much better than the team did a year ago in his first season after joining the Terps from Connecticut.
Conversely, Edsall is glad to have Brown's experience in leading the offense.
“He's in grad school; he's the old man on the team,” Edsall told reporters last month. “The level of maturity and everything else that's there and again I think he's one of those guys that feel like he's got something to prove after what happened to him with the injury.”
So far, Brown has proved himself worthy. Now, he just wants to see his team improve as it moves into its conference schedule. The Terps have a tough road ahead in a top-heavy ACC Atlantic division that includes Clemson and the Seminoles, both top 10 teams.
For Maryland to contend, Brown said his team needs to execute better in the red zone and score more touchdowns instead of settling for field goals. If they can do that, the Terps could vie for a berth in the ACC title game.
“The biggest thing is to go out there each and every week and just give it everything you've got, put it on the line and just give us a chance to win,” Brown said.
Adam Bittner is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
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