When speaking to Michigan State Cornerback, Shakur Brown, it was obvious quick, that the young prospect, isn’t your normal, college-aged kid. While discussing his playing style, his take on football, and his approach to being a good teammate. It was a maturity that stood out to me. Now, it is easy to put on a game tape of his and fall back on his impressive cover skills. But, speaking with the rising star, it was obvious he was so much more than a good player.
Playing in the Big-10, or for any power five schools, can bring another level of pressure to these guys. With the amount of pressure, the school, the media, and fans alike, out on these guys, it would be reasonable to expect, these guys to struggle a bit. Did I ask Brown if he ever felt the pressure of playing at such a high level? if so, how he dealt with it? and what his approach to the game was?
“Honestly I don’t feel any type of stress playing at this level. I feel like I was made to be here, and to play at this level. For real, the truth is people are going to have something to say about what you are doing. As a player and as a team. There is always a hater talking and trying to run his mouth. But if you really keep it inside with the team those things won’t be a bother, or extra stress really. You need to focus on your own work, your own business, and not worry about all the extra talk. Good or bad really. I don’t care what it is, I feel like it can change in a second. So it is what it is. As far as my approach to it all, playing at this level. Being a good teammate, and bringing the best version of myself. That goes without saying really. They trust you when they put you on scholarship. When they bring you into the school. They trust you to do your job and be the best version of yourself. So this is my job, this and school. I have shown that I am working to get it done right the first time and that I am being the best version of myself. The outside noise stays out. I work on being a great player, a great teammate. I can’t worry about all the other mess.”
Before I sit down with any prospect, I like to get an outside view of the player. I usually go to a friend of mine, who asks to stay nameless but also is a scouting source. I asked him about Shakur? and what he brought to a football field?
“I like him. I had a chance to talk to his coaches and they all say the same thing. That he works hard and he is a great teammate. He has great discipline in his game, which I love. meaning he never really seems to be out of place. He has great eyes, and always seems to be around the ball. Seems to have a maturity to him as well, which can rare sometimes. Sometimes you talk to these guys and they are childish, or not mentally or emotionally ready. He isn’t one of those guys. So that can be a good thing at the next level. As far as his skill set, what don’t you like about him? I mean, he needs some work, but all things that can be coached. But he has great hips, can tackle, he is aggressive in the run game. Not afraid to get dirty, I like that a ton. He understands what the offense is trying to do, and that is a good thing, it’s like having another coach sometimes. He is a guy I think that knows the roles of everyone on the field. I think he has a chance to be a great player at the next level.”
Moving forward I asked Brown, what he felt like he needed to work on?
“Really, everything. I am never happy with my game. I know I know what I am doing but even then I want to be better. I want to be a guy that the team can lean on. A guy who, can give me a job and that’s it, they just know I will get it done. going back to your question though, I think I can work on everything. All my strengths, everything. The only way I will become a great player is by working on it all.”
Shakur Brown isn’t a normal kid. Yes, he is talented, and has the look of a difference-maker, both in college and possibly the next level. He is blessed with good hands, great vision, and the ability to take away a receiver, at any moment. While he has all these talents, it is his maturity that sticks out to me. I ask you to put on the tape and see the talent. He has the IT factor, that we search for. But most of all, he has the mentality, that makes a good player, great.