Phillip Brown: Mr. Everything
by Chris Horne
TSL Extra, Issue #20
Every great football team needs players who want to step up in the big situations and make the big play. At the center of every game-saving tackle or game-winning touchdown, there is the player who wants to be in the center of it all, making things happen for his team.
For the Phoebus Phantoms, they needed an abundance of these types of players to help them capture the 2001 Division 5 championship. Lucky for Head Coach Bill Dee, he had these players…Xavier Adibi comes to mind. Another is a young man who craves each opportunity to make the big play. He thrives on these situations. The player in question is Phoebus’ version of Mr. Versatility, Phillip Brown.
"In crunch time, I like to have the ball," said Brown. "I want to be the man that constantly makes the plays. The man that steps it up in clutch situations."
Brown plays a plethora of positions for Phoebus. He has been shifted around from wide receiver to running back, and from running back to his favorite position, defensive back. According to Brown, his versatility is his best attribute, allowing him to contribute to his team in many different ways.
"I am best known for my versatility," explained Brown. "I can play many positions for my team…running back, wide receiver, and kick returner. I like having the ball in my hands. But my favorite position is cornerback."
Brown’s blazing speed allows him to be effective at each position he plays. Recently, he was timed at 4.3 in the 40. Coach Dee emphasizes that his speed gives him many advantages on the field in any capacity.
"He has great speed," said Dee. "Last season, he returned nine kicks for touchdowns. And he is our top cover guy on defense, a top cover corner. What makes him effective is that his speed doesn’t diminish in pads. Plus, he has a toughness and real understanding for the game."
Last season, against Heritage in a conference battle, Brown demonstrated his blazing field speed. According to Dee, Heritage threw a pass on the opposite side of the field from Brown. Heritage’s best and fastest receiver caught the pass, and he streaked down the line. Before the player could score, however, Brown raced from the other side of the field and caught the receiver around the five-yard line. In Dee’s mind, this play was a great example of what Brown could do physically, and further, how immensely it helped the team.
"Catching the guy from behind was an excellent play," said Dee. "But after that, Heritage didn’t score. Those were the types of plays we could expect out of Phillip last season."
For Brown, the postseason honors came rolling in after his standout junior year. At year’s end, he had tallied 71 tackles and four interceptions. He earned all-state honors at the kick returner position and all-region at cornerback and kick returner. He is rated #12 in the Roanoke Times Top 25 junior list and #3 in TSL's ranking of the Top 40 rising seniors in the state (see TSL Extra #19).
While Brown is an excellent talent deserving of his recognition, Coach Dee still believes he can work on some things to make him even better for next season.
"Phillip is a great player," said Dee. "But he is a little too aggressive at times. But that is a minor thing. He goes for the flashy plays most times, and perhaps he could be a little more cautious.
"But, of course, that is not a bad thing by any means."
When football season ends, track season begins for Brown. He loves indoor track and participates in many events, including the long jump and 100 and 200 meter sprints. The long jump, however, prevails as Brown’s favorite track activity. His crowning moment on the track took place in this event.
"I like all the track events, but the long jump is my favorite," said Brown. "In fact, a couple of years ago, I beat [current VT cornerback] DeAngelo Hall for the state championship. That was awesome."
Brown’s flashy personality certainly aids him in the sports he plays. He uses his energy and excitement to make the big play or step up in clutch time. According to coach Dee, he has the personality needed to face any challenge on or off the field.
"He is very outgoing," said Dee of Brown’s personality. "He is one of the most charismatic players on the team. He just has a charismatic personality."
Brown’s outgoing nature also gives him the confidence to do what is best for him in the recruiting process as well. While some recruits choose to follow each other to a particular school or let the decisions of others affect where they want to go, Brown is exactly the opposite.
"Will other players decision have any effect on me? Absolutely not," said Brown adamantly. "The other players can go where ever they want … I don’t really care what they do. I am going to do what I want to do."
Currently, Brown has received about 10 solid scholarship offers from prospective schools. His top five consists fully of Atlantic Coast and Big East Conference teams. Right now, he has no timetable on a decision.
"Right now, my top five is Virginia Tech, NC State, West Virginia, Maryland and Virginia."
The list of schools are in no particular order, according to Brown. While both state schools have been consistently in the top five, the situation with Virginia may be a little dicey, according to coach Dee. The recent fiasco between the Virginia staff and Xavier Adibi, in which Coach Al Groh informed Adibi that Virginia would not offer him a scholarship, could potentially play a role in Brown’s recruitment.
"Well, I don’t really get into that stuff with the kids, at least right now," said Dee of the Adibi situation. "But Phillip and Xavier are really close. It could possibly affect UVA and Brown."
Over the summer, Brown does not plan to visit any camps, although he does have offers. Instead, he will rest and get ready for the upcoming season. He has nothing against camps; he just has confidence in himself and his technique.
"I'm not going to any camps," said Brown. "Each camp teaches you a different technique and different ways to do things. I just want to work on my technique and get that better."
Brown has yet to reach NCAA freshman eligibility. In spite of this, Coach Dee is confident that Brown can make up the ground he needs to and qualify during his senior season.
"It is very early [right now]," said Dee of Brown’s academic status. "He hasn’t qualified yet, but he still has time. He has all of next year."
Tech fans can expect to hear more from Phillip Brown in the coming season. Brown, who has the mental toughness and outgoing personality to match incredible physical skill, should be the top cornerback available in the state of Virginia. He hopes to bring his skill and versatility to the next level and, eventually, play on both sides of the ball on the collegiate level. The next Charles Woodson? Well, certainly not yet. But if anyone believes Mr. Brown can attain such a level, it is Mr. Brown. So don’t put it past him.