(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Terence Brown is anything but a quitter.
Brown, a 6-foot-4, 318 pound senior from Summerville, South Carolina, has started every game since his sophomore season and was even named to the Rimington Trophy 2011 Fall Watch List, but his first try at football didn’t go so well.
“My first year of football was in the fifth grade and I actually hated it,” Brown said. “I was, honestly, kind of a sensitive child. I loved playing during the games, but I didn’t like getting yelled at in practice.”
But instead of giving up on the sport, Brown decided to give it another try in eighth grade.
“It took me awhile to warm up and grow up a little and understand that criticism is a good thing even though sometimes people yell,” Brown said.
Now the starting center for BYU, Brown started playing on the defensive line in eighth grade, but in ninth grade got moved to the offensive line and has been there ever since.
After playing on the junior varsity squad his freshman year of high school, Brown had big dreams for his sophomore year and his offensive line coach impelled him with some backhanded motivation.
“The one thing I look back on that really propelled me as far as motivation was after my freshman year when I was on the JV team and after that season, my offensive line coach came up to me and he asked what my plans were for next year and I told him I really wanted to try out make the varsity team,” Brown said, “He said I shouldn’t even tryout or worry about it and just stick with JV. For me, that was a big motivation because I felt like I could do it, even though he told me I couldn’t.”
Brown worked very hard that summer and not only made the varsity squad his sophomore year, but he started varsity from then on.
And just like Sheryl Yoast from “Remember the Titans” says, for Brown, growing up in the South, high school football was a way of life.
“Where I grew up football was a second religion for most people,” Brown said. “Friday nights the town would shut down and we would have anywhere from 10 to 15 thousand people at our games. It was a fun experience and I was grateful I was able to play football there.”
Playing at Summerville High School under the legendary high school coach John McKissick, who is football’s all-time national wins leader at any level, with a record 586 victories, the thought of playing college ball didn’t really cross Brown’s mind until later on in his career.
“When I was a sophomore starting in high school we were a very powerful football program and I would hear things from people that because I was starting as a sophomore that meant I could probably play college ball,” Brown said. “I had never thought much about it, but I felt like I had the ability to go that far. Starting my junior year, I started getting letters from colleges.”
Brown was recruited by several schools out of high school, including Clemson, South Carolina, Vanderbilt and even Georgia, but when it came to BYU, it was Brown who reached out and made the introduction.
“BYU didn’t find me, I really found them,” Brown said.
Brown’s stake president back in South Carolina had a brother who was an offensive coordinator at Alabama (Charlie Stubbs), so he understood what needed to be done when it came to recruiting.
“Being the oldest, my parents and I didn’t understand the recruiting process, so my stake president had me put together a recruiting video and we sent it to BYU,” Brown said. “They saw it, became interested and asked me to come out to a football camp in the summer. I came out, they offered me a scholarship and two weeks into my senior year in South Carolina, I called and told them I wanted to commit.”
And how did Brown decide on BYU?
“I had been thinking about it for a while, obviously,” Brown said. “But what it came down to was one night I prayed about it and felt very strongly BYU was the place I needed to be.”
Coincidentally, Brown committed while Gary Crowton was head coach, but never actually played under him. Brown’s first season was in 2005, the season that Bronco Mendenhall took over as head coach for BYU.
And just like any athletes progression to a higher level, Brown’s transition to the university level was a bit challenging, but not daunting.
“When you come to BYU it’s a big adjustment, I think for everyone, because Coach Mendenhall expects a lot from you, but I felt like I made that transition fairly well,” Brown said.
“Things were faster, guys were bigger, faster and stronger. In high school you’re the big shot and then you come to college and you have to re-earn respect and all of those things.”
After his freshman year, Brown served a two-year mission in Maceio, Brazil, and just as the transition from high school ball to the university level was tough, the transition back to football after his mission also had it’s challenges.
“The hardest thing was getting back into shape,” Brown said. “When I went on my mission I knew that was the right thing to do and I knew if it was the Lord’s will and if I did everything right, football would be here when I got back and it was, but the toughest thing was just getting back into playing shape. For me, my strength came back really quickly, but getting back the muscle endurance and just endurance in general was more tough.”
Even though Brown has played in 42 games at BYU since his freshman year, which involved three bowl games and three games against top 10 ranked teams, he claims his most memorable moment during his university experience has been meeting his wife, Sara.
“We were in the same singles ward in 2008 and we had met before, but I’m a pretty shy guy,” Brown said. “Jake Kuresa, who I played with my freshman year, sent me a text one day telling me there was a girl in my ward who thought I was cute and told me I should ask her out. So we went on a double date with Jake and his wife, who was from the same town (Lehi, Utah) as my wife, and from there things went well.”
Brown was married to his wife Sara during spring ball, right before the summer break, in 2009.
But, when it comes to Brown’s most memorable football moment at BYU, he understandably looks to the 2009 Oklahoma game.
“Going into the Cowboys stadium (Arlington, Texas) and beating Oklahoma was a fun experience and it was amazing to be apart of it and the great atmosphere that surrounded the game,” Brown said. “It was a Big 12 team, and to have the opportunity to play them and to play well and get the win was amazing. I remember after in the locker room and it was a sweet experience and something I’ll never forget.”
Now in his senior year, Brown is looked up to as a leader and sets an excellent example for the younger members of the team.
“I don’t necessarily feel just because I am a senior I have to step up and be a leader. I just feel through my example and through my demeanor and through the things I do, I hope I can be a leader,” Brown said. “I definitely take the young guys and answer any questions they have and just try and show them what BYU football is because it is a change coming from high school. I feel that sense of responsibility, but I don’t feel like I have to change myself.”
Returning four starters to the offensive line, including Outland Trophy candidate Matt Reynolds, Brown is excited to continue playing and improving with his friends.
“We’ve played together for a couple of years now, so we just have that continuity and are all on the same page, so it’s fun,” Brown said.
In his last season as a Cougar, Brown looks forward to the opportunities ahead, including those that come with being selected for the Rimington Trophy 2011 Fall Watch List.
“I’m grateful I’m on the list and I think it’s a great accomplishment,” Brown said. “Being on that list is great and hopefully I can perform high enough I can continue to get looks and things like that, but I just want to better myself and help our team play well. If those things happen then I’ll be pleased with our season and with my season.”
The Four Browns
Yes, there are four players on the BYU football team with the last name of Brown and yes, some of them are related, but do you know which ones?
Terence Brown does, in fact, have a little brother that also plays on the team, but there is often confusion on which of the other three Browns is actually Terence’s next of kin. So with all of the information placed in front of you, do you think you could figure it out?
First, we’ll introduce the other three Browns.
Braden Brown is a junior and plays right tackle on the offensive line. He is 6-foot-6 and weighs 301 pounds. He is majoring in exercise and wellness and played high school football at Highland High School.
Rhen Brown is also a junior and plays wide receiver. He is 5-foot-10 and weighs 178 pounds. He speaks Spanish and is an eagle scout and the last school he played for was Lone Peak High School.
Finally, Trevor Brown is a freshman and plays tight end. He is 6-foot-5 and weighs 210 pounds. Besides BYU, he was also recruited by Kansas, LSU and Maryland. The last school Trevor played for was Timpview High School.
So, with all of that being said, which of the Browns is actually Terence’s brother?
It is in fact the 5-foot-10 wide receiver, Rhen.
“We look nothing alike and we play totally different positions so no one ever puts us together,” Terence said. “When Rhen and I had both decided to play for BYU, my family decided to move back to Utah from South Carolina, so Rhen finished out high school at Lone Peak.”
Braden and Trevor Brown are actually brothers as well. They attended different high schools because in the middle of Trevor’s sophomore year, his father took a job in Utah County and that meant a transfer from East High School to Timpview for Trevor.
There are actually four sets of brothers currently playing on the team. Along with the two sets of Browns, Matt Reynolds and his brother Houston play on the offensive line together and Iona Pritchard, who is actually redshirting this season after suffering a leg and ankle injury during fall camp, is also accompanied this year by his brother, Baker.
The four Browns join 14 other Browns who have played football at BYU. In total, there have been 18 Browns that have played for the Cougars, dating all the way back to 1957.
Of course, the most famous of the Browns that have played for BYU, is Clay Brown.
The 6-foot-3 tight end from San Gabriel, Calif., was inducted into the 1999 BYU Hall of Fame because of his famous catch in Holiday Bowl III.
With no time left on the clock in the 46-45 victory at the 1980 Holiday Bowl, Brown went up against triple coverage by the Southern Methodist University defense and came down with the touchdown. That 41-yard reception gave the Cougars the game-tying touchdown, their first bowl victory and one of the greatest comebacks in NCAA football history.