Brown is a star in the making

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Brown is a star in the making

Freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown

Freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown

Freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown

Freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown

By Evan Baron, Evergreen columnist

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Cougar fans who watched the football game last Saturday witnessed more than an upset victory over USC- they also noticed a specific Cougar football player on the field.

Besides WSU cornerback Damante Horton, who recorded two interceptions in the game, another WSU football player was a key contribution to the Cougars success on Saturday.

Battling on the other side of the field was freshman cornerback Daquawn Brown, who received part of the spotlight in the game against the Trojans.

Whenever the WSU defense made a tackle for a loss or deflected a pass, the television camera focused on the freshman cornerback, who would either jump in the air with passion or wave his finger as if he were NBA All-Star Dikembe Mutombo saying, “Not in my house.”

Entering the USC game, Brown replaced senior Nolan Washington as starting cornerback after Washington could not play. Brown’s first collegiate start included a matchup against one of the best wide receivers in the country, Marqise Lee, for periods of the game.

With his confidence and competitive drive, Brown did not disappoint in his debut. Instead he led the team with 11 tackles and contributed to the shutdown of the All-American wide receiver. Lee was held to seven catches for 27 yards, according to Cougfan.com.

“I came here to play from Day One,” Brown said in an interview with Cougfan.com. “I’m just doing what I was supposed to do.”

WSU Head Football Coach Mike Leach and his staff have a star on the rise, and the USC game was a small preview of what the cornerback position will look like in the next four years at WSU.

Brown was ranked as the 33rd best cornerback in the entire country while attending Dorsey High School in Los Angeles, Calif., and he turned down top college football programs that included UCLA, Boise State, Arizona State, and Washington. Brown was seen as one of the highest rated players in the 2013 WSU recruiting class.

Entering fall camp in August, it only took Brown one day to be promoted from scout team defense to playing with the second team defense, according to Cougfan.com. Brown outplayed fourth-year junior Tracy Clark for the second string position.

“I’m a very serious competitor,” Brown said in an interview during fall camp.

Playing as a true freshman will only make Brown a better player down the road. The experience he gained from playing against USC boosted his confidence level and helped him learn what he needs to improve on.

By the time Brown becomes an upperclassmen it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear the possibility of Brown playing in the NFL. The cornerback has that much talent.

Brown’s biggest attributes are his speed and physicality. As we saw in the game at USC, Brown had no trouble running with any of the USC receivers down the field, which includes the All-American Lee.

The Los Angeles native has no fear of playing physical defense against the receiver and won’t back down from any wide receiver. This is the type of player the Cougars need if they want to be competitive in the Pac-12.

Cougfan.com reported that Brown was working with the second team defense this week in practice since cornerback Nolan Washington is back, but there is no indication on who will start in Saturday’s game against Southern Utah. If Brown receives the starting role again, then expect another solid performance from the freshman.

Since cornerbacks Washington and Horton are both seniors this year, it’s likely that Brown will hold the job for the next three years and emerge as a shutdown cornerback.

With the way Brown played last game, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him start at cornerback on Saturday. The confidence that the WSU coaching staff has in Brown makes it difficult to decide who to start at cornerback. Starting a senior is great because of the amount of experience that player possesses, but when a team has a future star on the rise, it might be time to give the freshman a chance.