Journey Brown Could Miss 2020 Season

Story posted October 20, 2020 in CommRadio, Sports by Andrew Destin

Penn State running back Journey Brown could miss the 2020 college football season because of an undisclosed medical condition.

Lions247 first reported this story. CommRadio cannot confirm Brown’s status at this time.

“Journey Brown is being treated for a medical condition discovered during the offseason and will potentially miss the 2020 football season,” a Penn State spokesperson said in a statement to Lions247.

If true, the loss of Brown would be a significant blow to the Nittany Lions’ running back corps. Brown rushed for 890 yards, 12 touchdowns and 6.9 yards per carry during the 2019 campaign, all of which led the team.

After a relatively quiet start to his redshirt sophomore campaign, Brown eclipsed 100 yards rushing in four of the Nittany Lions’ last five games. In the Cotton Bowl Classic against Memphis, Brown earned offensive MVP honors after rushing for a career-high 202 yards.

Arguably the deepest position group on Penn State’s roster last season, the Nittany Lions already lost former five-star running back Ricky Slade earlier this year when he announced his intentions to transfer to Old Dominion in June.

If Brown is not cleared to play in 2020, sophomores Noah Cain and Devyn Ford will both have to take on an increased role. Though Cain rushed for 100+ yards in consecutive games against Purdue and Iowa last year, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native took a backseat to Brown down the stretch. Meanwhile, Ford totaled just four rushing attempts in the Nittany Lions’ final two games.

Given Brown’s role as the de facto bell cow in Penn State’s backfield at the end of the 2019 season, first-year offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca would have to lean heavily on Cain and Ford to fill the void. While Cain demonstrated his ability to lead the running back committee on national television against Iowa, he has yet to be the sole feature back for the Nittany Lions.

Should Brown have to sit out, he would be one of two MVPs from the Cotton Bowl who would forgo the 2020 season. Linebacker Micah Parsons, who won defensive MVP honors in Dallas last year, opted out of the season in August amid the coronavirus pandemic and has instead been preparing for the NFL draft.

After his stellar Cotton Bowl performance, Brown could have joined Parsons in declaring for the NFL draft due to his junior academic standing. Instead, the Meadville, Pennsylvania native returned to Happy Valley as a longshot Heisman candidate.

In Brown’s absence, either Caziah Holmes or Keyvone Lee, who are each freshmen, could see more time on the field in 2020 than initially thought. According to 247 Sports, Holmes was the No. 22 running back recruit in the 2020 recruiting class, while Lee was the No. 28 recruit.

Regardless, the loss of Brown would be problematic for a backfield that was expected to ease the transition from since-departed offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne (now the head coach at Old Dominion University) to Ciarrocca.


Andrew Destin is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email