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Levi Brown: A Mainstay for the Thundering Herd

Levi Brown: A Mainstay for the Thundering Herd

Former Brave Levi Brown (#61) is an anchor at center for the Thundering Herd of Marshall University in West Virginia (Photo courtesy of Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch)

(Huntington, WV) — Former Heard County Brave football player and 2015 HCHS graduate Levi Brown has already become one of the most accomplished NCAA athletes in school history during his first three years as a member of the offensive line at Marshall University in West Virginia.

Brown, a redshirt junior and the Herd’s starting center for the last two years, has been an ideal fit on the offensive line and one of the most durable players on the team.

Brown has started every game and recorded a team-high 932 snaps in 2017 proving why he earned the nickname ‘Every Down’ Levi Brown during his freshman season.

The athletic lineman has been named to the ‘Rimington Trophy’ watch list for two seasons and is considered one of the top 10-15 front-runners for the prestigious award this season.

The Dave Rimington Trophy is awarded to the player considered to be the best center in college football. Dave Rimington was a center who played at the University of Nebraska from 1979 to 1982.

The 6-4, 296 pound Brown is ranked as the No. 14 center in the 2019 NFL Draft projections by WalterFootball.com along with centers from larger schools such as Stanford, Texas, Ohio State, and Alabama.

Not only did Brown start all 13 games for the Herd in 2017, he made all the calls for a Marshall offensive line that finished tied for fourth in FBS with only 11 sacks allowed. Behind Brown, Marshall averaged 5.5 yards per play during the 2017 season, finishing with 4,938 yards of total offense.

Brown has received numerous accolades with the Herd including being the only center named to the Conference USA All-Freshman team, as voted by the league’s 13 head coaches in 2016.

In 2017, he was named second team All Conference USA and was the only underclassmen named first or second team. He allowed just one sack in the aforementioned 932 snaps during his sophomore season, and he has already been named preseason Conference USA first team for the 2018 season.

It comes as no surprise to Brown that his experience at Marshall has been so fulfilling thus far.

“That’s a huge part in why I chose this Herd program honestly,” says Brown. “I felt that I could have a great relationship with the coaches, and the players that I got to know my freshman year are some of my best friends. It’s a place where I can really be myself.”

Despite being so far from home, he says the strong camaraderie with his teammates — especially his fellow offensive linemen — has helped him a lot along the way.

“We (the offensive line) are a pretty tight group. Myself, as well as the right guard, Alex Mollette, and our right tackle, Tarik Adams, are all from Georgia. We all hang out a good bit when we aren’t at the stadium or inside the athletic complexes,” adds Brown.

The Thundering Herd compete in Conference USA and are already off to a 2-0 start to the season. They were slated to play at South Carolina on Saturday but that game was cancelled due to impacts from Hurricane Florence. Brown and the Herd hope to have a strong season.

“Our team goals are to win a conference championship and to play in a very competitive bowl game,” Brown says. “My individual goals would be to not miss any offensive snaps, and to put my team in the best situations to have a chance to win every game once the 4th quarter rolls around.”

Brown says that looking back he realizes just how much being a part of the Heard County Brave football program under Coach Barron and staff helped to prepare him for the next level.

“Heard County prepared me for the division one collegiate level because it’s a very hard program to be a part of. The conditioning is hard, the practices were hard, but the coaches have a personal connection with every player on the roster,” says Brown. “I still follow the Braves closely, and I text coach Shane Lasseter all the time to get a breakdown of their games almost every week.”

Levi Brown with the New Mexico Bowl trophy in 2017

Brown is majoring in health science with a minor in psychology and sociology. he is hopeful to be drafted to the NFL but also realistic about the prospects of making it.

“I plan on trying to play at the next level, and if that doesn’t work out, I would like to possibly become a graduate assistant and start coaching somewhere. If I don’t do that, then I will try to find a job somewhere in my field.”

It is interesting and ominous that Brown played 932 snaps for the Herd last season considering the tragic history associated with that number at the university.

Flight 932 was the number of the Southern Airways chartered flight that crashed at 7:36 p.m. on November 14, 1970. The aircraft crashed into a hill just short of the Tri-State Airport, killing all 75 people on board.

Considered to be one of the most tragic events in NCAA history, the plane was carrying 37 members of the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team, eight members of the coaching staff, 25 boosters, and five flight crew members.

The team was returning home after a 17–14 loss to the East Carolina Pirates at Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina.

“The plane crash is talked about almost every single week,” says Brown. “Our program is bigger than us. Every week we play for the 75 souls that were lost. The community is greatly effected by it to this day.”