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ELLIOTT: Transfer Brown Delivering at Receiver for WVU

September 17, 2011
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MORGANTOWN - Devon Brown's story isn't a unique one.

West Virginia's backup 'Y' receiver is a fifth-year senior transfer from Wake Forest who took advantage of an NCAA rule that allows a student to transfer schools and become eligible immediately if the new school offers a post-graduate program the previous one did not.

Former Mountaineer Ryan Mundy did it. Former Syracuse quarterback Greg Paulus (now a video coordinator with the Ohio State men's basketball team) did it.

Heck, even Brown's Mountaineers teammate Steve Paskorz is doing it.

What makes Brown so interesting is equal parts his perspective and his performance.

The 5-foot-9 receiver, who twice led Wake Forest in receiving, caught four passes for 109 yard yards and a touchdown in last weekend's victory against Norfolk State.

When it was over, all he wanted to talk about was his blocking. A big deal in every program, Wake had a unique way of rewarding its best blocking receiver on a week-to-week basis - a big comfortable chair.

''Whoever had the best blocking that week got it,'' Brown said. ''I always sat in that just about every week. You can be the best playmaker and do all of that, but if you can't block, you're likely not going to play. You have to make it your drive to go out there and block.

''Most of us have played receiver our whole lives. Everyone knows you can go out there and catch the ball - that should be second nature. Going out there and blocking is something you have to take pride in.''

Brown certainly misses his old teammates. It's tough when you say goodbye to some of your best friends, the guys you lived with, roomed with on the road, etc.

''I built strong relationships down there that I'm probably never going to forget about or end,'' he said.

But he doesn't miss the losing.

Wake Forest was 25-25 the last four years and is coming off back-to-back sub-.500 seasons.

''It definitely made me a lot more mentally tough and deal with adversity,'' Brown said. ''Going through the losing seasons and being able to just come back and stay strong and realize we still have an opportunity to play football. I learned a lot at Wake, the coaches, players, everything. It's definitely something that didn't end the way I would have liked it to, but it's something that I don't regret at all.''

Now, everything has changed. Brown was a vocal leader at Wake; he's not at WVU - yet.

''I could be the guy to stand up in front of the team, get them pumped up and go out there and do all the talking and everyone sits there and they listen because I earned my stripes there,'' he said. ''I've earned my respect. But here, it's different. Yeah, they respect me, but I feel like I haven't done enough to be able to stand up in front of the team and do all the hoopin' and hollerin' and all of that. I'll let my actions on the field speak, and I'll earn everyone's respect that way.''

It's happening pretty quickly. He's becoming a household name in Morgantown in a hurry.

''Mountaineer Nation is the best in the country,'' he said. ''Everyone's here. Everyone loves football. Football is a big thing here, whereas it wasn't quite the same at Wake. Fans, a lot of times, didn't show up. It's definitely something that if you're serious about playing college football, then you want the fans to be around, you want them into it.''

He'll do his best to make sure they stay interested.

Jim Elliott can be reached via e-mail at: elliott@theintelligencer.net