Cam Brown (then the only player with that name associated with the team) committed to Penn State pretty early on in the 2016 recruiting year, and stuck with the commitment through a lackluster 2015 season. A consensus four-star, his lankiness was considered a big factor by some as an indicator he would redshirt his first season to bulk up and build into the linebacker role.
Brown had other ideas, and in a season in which whatever could go wrong in the linebacker corps did go wrong in the linebacker corps in September, Brown saw the field almost right away and made an impact.
It’s the early season game time that allowed Brown the experience on the field to have the second best play in Penn State’s upset win over then-#2 Ohio State - a blocked punt that would lead to a field goal that made Marcus Allen/Grant Haley’s block six the winning play of the game.
When Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda returned to the field in October, Brown saw his playing time decrease, but the early impact had been felt. He came into his sophomore season in 2017 having changed his number from 31 to six, a more experienced player, and saw increased playing time, not due to injuries, but his own play and talent. Last year, he recorded a tackle in nearly every game of the season, and was an integral part of the two deep in defense, and in on most starting special teams plays.
This season, Brown comes in as one of the leaders in a linebacking corps that lost its vocal leader in MLB Cabinda - and is now taking reps on the inside in the hopes of replacing him. Returning linebacker Manny Bowen, who worked his way back onto the team, and incoming all-star Micah Parsons may be taking most of the press, but it’s Brown who should be the backbone of the middle of Penn State’s defense in 2018.
Oh, and in case you wanted to see it...the actual number one play in Brown’s breakout game, if only because we’re less than a week away from football...