LINCOLN — Drew Brown doesn’t remember a single game of older brother Kris Brown’s career at Nebraska.
How could he? Drew was born in 1995 — in the middle of Kris’ freshman year. Drew was 3 years old when Kris left NU as the most accomplished kicker in school history.
But the older brother’s success set the hook in the younger brother. For kicking field goals — and for doing it at Nebraska. So when Husker coach Bo Pelini personally offered Drew Brown a scholarship Friday for the 2014 recruiting class, the answer was easy.
“Crazy — like a dream come true,” said Drew Brown, who, like Kris, kicks at Southlake Carroll (Texas) High School. “Nebraska’s been a second home to me. For as long as I can remember, Nebraska’s been my No. 1 school.”
Said Kris Brown: “I had a feeling if Nebraska offered, he’d take it. This is the place he wanted to go since he was 5 years old.”
That’s why the 5-foot-10, 160-pounder has been attending NU’s kicking academy for four years, and why he calls Nebraska “Kicker U.” Kris played 12 seasons in the NFL, two more Husker placekickers — Josh Brown and Alex Henery — have started in the NFL, and a third, Brett Maher, will vie for the New York Jets’ starting job this summer.
“It’s really special to wear these colors,” said Drew Brown, who’s made 26 of 34 field goals in his last two years at Southlake Carroll, including a long of 49 yards. He’s missed just one extra point.
Kris Brown, who worked extensively with Maher, said Drew has considerable potential.
“He’s pretty darn good,” said Kris, who holds the school records for extra points and field-goal attempts. “He’s so much more advanced — as far as technique is concerned — compared to where I was at his age.”
Though none of three major recruiting services — Rivals, Scout or 247Sports — has rated Drew Brown, most kickers don’t get ratings until their senior year. In the National Camp Series, Brown has competed in four regionals since 2011 and received five stars for field goals and kickoffs. At an Oct. 13, 2012, regional in Dallas, Brown hit 9 of 10 field goals — including a 52-yarder — and averaged 74.4 yards on kickoffs. Translated to college, that’s an average kickoff of 9.4 yards into the end zone.
Drew Brown said he’s learned a lot from Kris, who said he’s tried to offer advice only when he’s asked.
“But I’m pretty eager to go out and watch him kick,” Kris said. “And he’s always pretty eager to ask questions.”
Drew Brown wants to give Husker baseball a shot, too. He’s started as an outfielder for Southlake Carroll since he was a sophomore, and had a .315 average this spring. Brown said Pelini gave the green light, and NU baseball coach Darin Erstad — who punted and kicked long field goals on the Huskers’ 1994 national title team — encouraged him to try out.
Kris Brown said it was Erstad, not himself, who really started the “Kicker U” trend at NU — even if Erstad was only the punter. Brown said former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne liked Erstad’s athleticism in baseball and started pursuing more athletic kickers after 1994. Brown, who played quarterback in high school, was the first of those. Henery played soccer at Omaha Burke, while Maher played wide receiver at Kearney.
“We’ve brought a different mentality to the position,” Brown said.
Drew Brown has a high bar of his own to clear — his brother’s.
“It would mean a lot if I could outdo him,” Brown said, laughing. “I’d get bragging rights.”
Brown is NU’s third commit for the 2014 class.
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