College Football: Chris Brown leading Notre Dame receivers in camp
By LaMond Pope email@example.com or 713-2691 Twitter: @lamondpope August 11, 2014 11:00PM
Notre Dame wide receiver Chris Brown makes a catch during the Blue Gold game an NCAA football game marking the end of spring practice at Notre Dame Stadium Saturday April 12, 2014 in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond) ORG XMIT: injr201
Updated: September 13, 2014 6:28AM
SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame’s receivers needed a leader during spring camp.
Top target TJ Jones had graduated and DaVaris Daniels wasn’t around because of a suspension tied to academics.
So Chris Brown took charge.
“My expectations were to become a better receiver, rally the guys together and try to bring the group up as a whole,” Brown said. “Get everyone around me better as well as improve my game.”
Brown’s strong spring has carried over to the start of preseason camp. Coach Brian Kelly said the junior was Notre Dame’s best receiver during last week.
“The circumstances led to him emerging at that position,” Kelly said. “And then when you see some light at the top there, you kind of take hold.”
Kelly pointed to Brown’s route running and releases among the strengths.
“We had a great mentor in TJ Jones and I thought he saw the growth in TJ and mirrored that and saw an opportunity when DaVaris was not with us, Chris by de facto was the veteran of that group,” Kelly said. “He was put in a leadership position in the spring and really kind of took off.”
Some of those signs were evident late last season. Brown appeared in 13 games in 2013 and made four starts. He caught 15 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown.
The touchdown came Oct. 26 at Air Force. He had five receptions (a career high) for 54 yards in the Pinstripe Bowl victory against Rutgers.
“I feel like I had a good bowl practice and the game was a help and pushing forward in the spring and having a good spring, all those are stepping stones in becoming more consistent,” Brown said. “Spring ball was good, now I’m looking to have a good camp. I’m looking for every day to be a good day. I’m not just looking to have an OK camp. I’m looking to have a great camp.”
Brown is just one of three returning Notre Dame players with at least 10 catches from a year ago (Daniels had 49 receptions while tight end Ben Koyack caught 10 passes). Brown does not feeling any extra pressure to perform.
“I’m looking for the next play. The next day, the next practice,” he said. “I’m trying to be consistent every single day in everything that I do.”