Equanimeous St. Brown already owned the tag of being one of college football’s most interesting recruits. Now he needs to find a way to keep fans interested by making headlines for his play on the field.
A trilingual son of a former Mr. Universe, St. Brown no longer gets to draw attention because of his unique upbringing. But with a starting job within grasp, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to step into a rebuilt receiving corps and make a name for himself on the field.
EQUANIMEOUS ST. BROWN
6’4″, 205 lbs.
Sophomore, No. 6, WR
An Under Armour All-American and a Top 250 prospect, St. Brown was an early target by Notre Dame and had most of the Pac-12’s elite after him. While his high school production was limited due to offensive scheme and an injury-plagued senior season, St. Brown still had offers from USC, UCLA, Miami, Stanford and LSU before picking Notre Dame.
Freshman Season (2015): Played in seven games, catching one pass for eight yards. Also returned a punt for 18 yards. His punt block against USC for a touchdown was one of the season’s biggest special teams plays.
WHAT WE SAID LAST YEAR
He was good enough to see the field, but didn’t make much of an offensive impact. Partial credit?
I don’t really see a world where St. Brown plays this season. It doesn’t make a ton of sense, especially with the depth in front of him. That said, if he’s able to push his way onto the field, he’s got the length and the jumping ability to be a candidate for the “freshman designated deep ball target.” That’s been a promising sign.
Otherwise, St. Brown can spend the season getting used to a college offense that’s far more complex than the one he ran in high school. That shouldn’t be much of a challenge for a guy who speaks German at home with his mother and has AP credits falling out of his pockets, so however 2015 plays out for St. Brown, the future is bright.
The difference between impressive freshman and sophomore needing to make an impact is stark. So while St. Brown managed to draw plenty of eyeballs in fall camp last year, the bar has been raised.
St. Brown has immense physical gifts. His size and length make him a great option at the boundary receiver—a position that’s lost two potential contributors with Corey Robinson and Alizé Jones gone. That gives St. Brown a chance to be one of the surprise contributors of 2016, though he’ll need to add some consistency to his game.
The drop-off from a veteran like Chris Brown to a receiver with one career catch is sizable. But from a physical skills perspective, St. Brown can do everything needed to be a standout, he just needs to grow up in a hurry.
Predicting a breakout sophomore season like the ones Golden Tate or Will Fuller had isn’t fair. But with a strong running game and Torii Hunter across from him, St. Brown will have plenty of opportunities to make big plays, he just needs to seize those chances.
Can St. Brown put himself on course to be the next great Irish receiver? The hype has slowed, but there’s no reason the answer should be no.
This camp has been all about young receivers finding consistency. While Kevin Stepherson seems to have taken most of the excitement, I think St. Brown will be the best of the bunch—at least in 2016.
But let’s keep expectations in check. I’ll set the bar somewhere between Torii Hunter’s 2015 and Chris Brown’s junior season, with St. Brown catching somewhere around 30 balls if he stays healthy and holds onto his starting job.
2016’s Irish A-to-Z
Torii Hunter Jr.
Tony Jones Jr.
Troy Pride Jr.