Player Spotlight: Cam Brown
When duty called in early in the 2016 season, then-freshman Cam Brown rose to the occasion. Injuries had swept through the Penn State defensive unit, so Brown burned his red shirt and made a major contribution on special teams and as a linebacker.
In his third game of the 2016 campaign, against Michigan, Brown logged 10 tackles. The last true freshman to accomplish such a feat was Marcus Allen in 2014. However, perhaps Brown’s most impressive play of the 2016 season came when he blocked his first career punt in the fourth quarter against Ohio State. That block led to Tyler Davis’s 34-yard field goal and a Penn State win, a major turning point in the Nittany Lions’ season.
By the end of last season, Brown had appeared in 12 games, with two starts and ranking fifth on the team in special team tackles. Brown was rewarded for such a fine season by being selected to the BTN.com and ESPN.com All-Big Ten freshman team.
In 2017, with one season under his belt, Brown now looks to help this year’s red shirt and true freshman understand the role of kickoffs and what it can mean to their football careers. Brown said, “It is a key to getting on the field early, like it was for me. So, it’s more so a role of just trying to be a leader for them and trying to lead on the field.”
Brown has continued to log tackles and was part of the season-opener defense against Akron that recorded the first opening game shutout since 2007. That same defense also recorded 14 tackles for a loss, the most since recording 15 against Temple in 2015.
Recently, Brown spoke about his sophomore season and what’s made the difference in his game preparation and performance.
“Definitely film study, last year I didn’t really watch film as much as I should have. …But now going on, on my own and asking Coach Pry questions, and talking with the older guys about just what they see and what they feel we should adjust to, and even giving suggestions to certain things on the defense.”
In addition to his preparation, Brown has looked to senior linebacker Jason Cabinda for guidance. Cabinda, who also started his freshman year at Penn State, is someone Brown looks to for direction on and off the field, in and out of season.
“He (Cabinda) just showed me to love to compete, and loving to compete and finding that love in everything you do when it comes to football - lifting, how your diet is and everything like that,” Brown said.
Looking forward, Brown wants to continue to improve his on-field speed, while adding weight to his already sturdy 6-5, 220-lb. frame. Brown says he would like to leave Penn State at 230 pounds, but wants to ensure the added weight does not take away his effectiveness on the field. Again, he is following the lead of his mentor Cabinda, who has slimmed down this season.
With two and a half seasons left in Happy Valley, Brown’s biggest contributions to Penn State football are most likely still to come. Penn State fans will be looking to see Brown’s impressive football resume continue to grow.
Devon D’Andrea is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.