As far as Penn State defensive line coach Larry Johnson is
concerned, there's just one thing wrong with senior defensive
end Courtney Brown: "He isn't a twin. He's the kind of kid who
comes along once in a lifetime. You could put him in a room by
himself and let him run things, and truly the world would be a
better place. I wish there were a thousand Courtney Browns."
So do NFL scouts. Brown, a 6'5", 270-pound block of granite
blessed with an 86-inch wingspan, is strong enough to bulldoze
blockers and agile enough to dance around them. In 1998 he led
the Nittany Lions with 11 1/2 sacks and had a school-record 23
tackles behind the line of scrimmage for a stunning minus-139
yards. He was at his best against Purdue, finishing with seven
tackles, including four hits for minus-29 yards and three sacks.
Brown was first team All-Big Ten and the MVP of the Outback
Bowl. Michigan coach Lloyd Carr calls him the best pass rusher
he'd seen in 10 years. "When it comes to rushing the
quarterback, he's got everything we look for," says one NFL
player personnel director. "He's got the ability to be a top
five pick." To get drafted that early, however, Brown needs to
bulk up a bit and improve his run-stuffing ability.
"For any football player the NFL is the ultimate achievement,"
Brown says. "I will do what it takes to get there, but right now
the task at hand for me is to help accomplish the goals of our
team at Penn State."
A dean's list student working toward a degree in integrative
arts, Brown is such a soft-spoken guy off the field that Johnson
has nicknamed him the Quiet Storm. "You know how a storm can
sneak up on you?" says Johnson. "Well, Courtney's like that.
He's quiet, and then the ball snaps and he explodes and engulfs
COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANSIDEAL NFL TEAM The Steelers desperately need a quality pass rusher and run stuffer to play over tight end.