Ex-Seneca Valley star Brown back in huddle for Terrapins
By Jerry DiPaola
Published: Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 10:51 p.m.
Coach Randy Edsall won't say Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown was lucky to fracture his collarbone, tear up his right knee and miss two seasons. The pain alone is enough misfortune for anyone to endure.
But Edsall said he believes Brown, a former Seneca Valley star, may be a better quarterback, thanks to his time off.
“He had a chance to sit back and really see what the big picture is all about, almost from a coaching standpoint,” Edsall said. “We had him involved with being a coach and helping those younger kids get ready to play. Having that experience is really going to enhance him as he is on the field and enhance him as he is handling the huddles from a leadership standpoint. He's probably a little bit more astute to all the finer points of what our offense is all about, what the quarterback has to do.
“I think sometimes everybody needs to have that happen. I think that's what's going to happen to C.J.”
Brown can smile at the lessons learned.
“Two head coaches, three OCs (offensive coordinators), two injuries,” he said. “I've been through it all.”
And he still has two years to go.
Considered one of the WPIAL's premier football and basketball players of 2008 and '09, Brown is set to be Maryland's starting quarterback this season, the Terrapins' last in the ACC before joining the Big Ten.
Brown broke a collarbone early in the 2010 season and tore an ACL in his knee in 2012 in a noncontact drill before his redshirt junior year.
He had surgery on both, getting a plate and six screws in his shoulder and a 31⁄2-inch scar on his knee.
Because Brown missed two seasons with injuries, the NCAA granted him an extra year of eligibility, which means he can play through 2014.
Brown, who said he is 100 percent healthy, felt sorry for himself only at the beginning of his ordeals when he could do nothing but lay in bed.
“But you can't dwell on it,” he said.
Now he wants nothing more than to make up for lost time.
“I want to get out and compete,” he said. “You only get so many opportunities.”
In Brown's only full season (2011), he played in 10 games — five starts — and compiled three of the top eight rushing efforts by a quarterback in Maryland history (162 yards vs. Clemson; 124 vs. Georgia Tech; 110 vs. Wake Forest). He totaled 574, a school single-season record for a quarterback, No. 1 in the FBS that year and 15th all-time in the ACC.
His degree? That was the easy part. He graduated in December with a degree in communications — after 31⁄2 years — and is pursuing a master's in supply chain management.
The injury allowed Brown plenty of free time to concentrate on academics, but Edsall said it left a void that only playing — and playing well — will fill.
“When you get hurt, it's lonely. You are by yourself,” Edsall said. “You got an emptiness there because you are not out there practicing. You are not out there competing.
“But you can see he's hungry. He's churning and champing at the bit ... (to) be the leader and be the quarterback he is capable of being.”
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
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