Matt Brown is a little man who has attracted some big time recognition. Brown, Temple’s quick-footed running back, has been named to the 2012 Paul Hornung Award Watch List. Now, in its third year, the award is given annually to the most versatile player in major college football by the Louisville Sports Commission and football legend Paul Hornung.
He is one of 49 players named to this prestigious list. He’s also one of the smallest running backs in the country at 5-foot-5, 165 pounds.
Brown, a two-time, All-MAC selection, played in all 13 Owls’ games with two starts last fall. He was the Owls’ second leading rusher with 916 yards on 155 carries while scoring six touchdowns. He was Temple’s top kickoff returner with 703 yards and a TD on 28 returns and best punt returner with 182 yards on 18 returns on the season.
“Matt is a hard worker that really likes football,” said Steve Addazio, Temple head coach. “He loves ball. He loves to compete. Those are the strengths of Matt Brown and he has the ability. He’s certainly a guy who will make his mark this year.”
Chris Coyer, Owls quarterback, knows Brown is a player who can make a lot of plays on the ground. Coyer also knows that size is not a factor in terms of the way Brown plays football.
“Matt may be a little guy, but he plays bigger than anyone I’ve ever seen,” Coyer said. “He’s one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with. When he’s on the field, he’s a tough guy who can take the load and take the hits and give a few hits. He’s just been a tremendous competitor ever since I’ve been on this team.”
Brown is impressed with the latest honor, which puts him in a special category for college football running backs. Although he’s pleased with the recognition, he plans to keep his sleeves rolled up.
“I’m just going to keep working,” Brown said. “I’m going to keep on working to get better. I just want to get better. That’s my thoughts. I just put my head down. I’m determined. I try to perfect my craft. I try to improve my weaknesses. I watch a lot of film. I just try to work on everything.
Brown played in the same backfield with Bernard Pierce, Owls brilliant running back. Pierce finished his Temple career with 653 carries for 3,570 yards and 53 rushing TDs. He caught 19 passes for 178 yards and one TD. He was selected as the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year. Pierce, former Glen Mills star, was selected in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens.
Brown will pick up a lot of Pierce’s carries. He will be the Owls major threat on the ground. Brown has some big shoes to fill. He seems to be up for the challenge providing the Owls with a great rushing attack. Brown keeps in touch with Pierce, who is currently in the Ravens training camp.
“I’ve been in contact with him a couple times,” Brown said. “We’ve met up a few times. We’ve been talking. I was asking him how he was doing out there. He was giving me feedback. I’m doing whatever I can do to get to where he is. He plays for the Ravens. That’s my hometown team. He’s in my hometown. I’m in his hometown.”
Brown, a Baltimore native, will be playing in a big hometown game for a lot of local fans in Philadelphia in a few weeks. Temple opens the season with Villanova in the fourth annual Mayor’s Cup on Friday, August 31 at Lincoln Financial Field at 7 p.m.
“It’s definitely a big game,” Brown said. “It’s a cross-town rival. It’s going to be an exciting game. Every year, it’s been an exciting game.”
NOTE: The 2012 watch list is comprised of 25 seniors, 16 juniors and eight sophomores, representing 44 universities and 10 conferences that are part of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). The selection committee comprised of 16 national sports journalists and former college and NFL players, will narrow the field to a small group of finalists in early December. The winner will be selected in early January from among the finalists following the bowl season.