Southside’s Brown to suit up for Blue-Grey All-American Bowl

Published 2:51 pm Friday, August 7, 2015

DAVID CUCCHIARA | DAILY NEWS TOP HONOR: Lawrence Brown rushed for 1271 yards and 16 touchdowns last season for Southside, including a 104-yard performance against Pamlico County on Nov. 7.

TOP HONOR: Lawrence Brown rushed for 1271 yards and 16 touchdowns last season for Southside, including a 104-yard performance against Pamlico County on Nov. 7.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Southside running back Lawrence Brown’s days as an under-the-radar running back are behind him. Come December, the Seahawks’ leading rusher will showcase his talents on the national stage.

After an elite performance at two regional combines, Brown was recognized this week as a Blue-Grey All-American and will compete in the All-American Bowl on Dec. 20 at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

“I’m all about the team and ultimately, it doesn’t matter how many yards I rush so long as we win the game,” Brown said. “At the same time, come the end of (last) year, you saw guys like (Washington’s) Markel Spencer getting all the media attention. It discouraged me a little bit, but at the same time my dad said my time is coming. I took that as I have one more year to prove to everybody that while I may be under the radar, you’ll notice me by mid-season.”

With character, charisma and class, Brown has developed into the poster child for Southside athletics over the last few seasons, buying into whatever philosophy or system comes his way — on the track, on the diamond and especially on the gridiron. Last season for the 10-4 Seahawks, he rushed for 16 touchdowns and 1271 yards, the third-highest total in the county before Spencer and Northside’s Rockne Butler.

But while Butler and Spencer were their team’s respective go-to running options, Brown was an integral piece in head coach Jeff Carrow’s wing-T system, one that’s utilizes multiple backs.

“With Lawrence, if he was at another school he would probably be ‘the’ back,” Carrow said. “He gets undercut sometimes in the media and doesn’t get some of the respect he rightfully deserves, but he’s a great team player who understands our system. He was able to get big yards last year, along with three or four other guys who were close to 1000 yards.”

This summer, Brown decided to test his athletic ability and participate in two regional combines on the Blue-Grey All-American circuit. Unsure of what the competition had in store, he went up against 3-A and 4-A-type talent, participating in the 40-yard dash, bench press, broad jump and shuttle run.

At the first combine, held at the Greensboro Coliseum on April 4, his confidence grew as other athletes’ times and distances registered on the ticker. When the showcase finished and all his events were completed, Brown’s broad jump distance of 9 feet, 9 inches decisively led all athletes at the combine, while his 19-rep bench press and a 40-yard dash time of 4.47 also placed in the upper percentile. The impressive performance earned him a place at the Blue-Grey All-American Mid-Atlantic Super Combine, held at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond.

In Virginia, Brown all but replicated his Greensboro results, running the 40 in 4.49 seconds, the shuttle in 4.37 seconds and leaping 9 feet, 9 inches, once again, in the broad jump. It was a performance the selection committee could not overlook.

“It feels great and to be honest, I didn’t know I was going to make the team,” Brown said. “There were so many other regional combines with great athletes. When I found out, it was exciting. It had been one of my dreams to make an All-American bowl.”

The Blue-Grey All-American Bowl showcases elite senior recruits from 22 eastern states and 17 western states who competed in combines across the country. A selection means national exposure for Brown, who hails from one of the smallest schools represented at the combine.

“Me being from a smaller town, a smaller school, it’ll feel just like when I went to the regional combine,” Brown said. “I had to compete against some of those same guys. I made a statement once; it’ll just be me making another statement. I’m from a smaller school, but I still want to play college ball just like (those) guys. I’ll have a point to prove when I go out there.”

A product of hard work, Brown will lead a Southside team with high expectations entering the 2015 season.

“Between weight lifting and track, he’s definitely developed and worked hard at it. It’s showing,” Carrow said. “It’s a huge honor for our team and our coaching staff and our community also. He is the kid that finally gets a little recognition who deserves it.”