By Ashley Denny.
CLEMSON, SC- When Clemson fans came into Death Valley this Saturday, it was senior defensive end Kourtnei Brown’s face staring back at them when they took out their tickets. Little did they know that Brown, a player that’s been very quiet throughout his career at Clemson would play the best game of his career against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Brown, a player who redshirted his junior year, ended up scoring touchdowns on two turnovers, scoring a 20 yard interception and a 26 yard fumble recovery, leading the team in touchdowns. He also played a pivotal role on defense as the Tar Heels drove down to the Clemson 3 yard line, only for Brown to tip a pass which was then intercepted by Clemson defensive back Darius Robinson.
“Words really can’t describe how I’m feeling right now,” Brown said after the game. “I’m just happy to help my team out, get some points on the board.”
Brown who didn’t realize until we spoke to him that he had scored more touchdowns than any offensive player for Clemson against the Tar Heels, described Saturday as the perfect day.
“It was perfect, you couldn’t ask for a better game,” Brown said. “Playing against my home team, team captain, scoring two touchdowns, what more can you ask for as a player?”
Several players scored for the Tigers against UNC, something that Brown thinks is unique about Clemson’s offense.
“That’s the good thing about our offense,” Brown said. “If one goes down, we’ve got so many other options that we can go to and rely on to carry the team offensively.”
Brown believes that as long as the Tigers continue to come together as a team and practice hard they’ll continue to be successful.
“It’s special this run that we’ve got going,” Brown said. “We work hard every week, watching film, studying hard, going the extra mile and it’s all paying off. As long as we continue to do our assignments everything is going to fan out perfectly.”
The special story about Brown is that during his junior season, he and the coaches decided that although he was physically prepared to play and contribute, his mental preparedness was not where it should be so they decided to put a redshirt on him. Brown then had to watch his teammates have their success throughout the 2009 season while watching from the sidelines and although he wanted badly to go out there and play, he knew his time would come.
“I felt redshirting was best for me as far as learning the game,” Brown said. “I started playing football in the 10th grade and I was prepared physically but not mentally so I wanted to sit out and learn about the game. It was tough playing as a freshman and sophomore and then redshirting, not being able to help. But everything happens for a reason and I’m here now. The players and coaches uplifted me during my redshirt year, I still got to travel and studied film. Anything I could do to help the team I did it, I was on the scout team, everything. The team is what it’s all about.”
Coach Swinney had nothing but praise for his 5th year senior when he held a press conference after the game.
“Kourtnei Brown’s game was tremendous,” Swinney said. “Here’s a man who’s been through an awful lot, and I made a point to talk to the team about this in the locker room after the game is here’s a guy who’s in his fifth year, he’s been through a tremendous amount, he redshirted in the middle of his career, came back in the spring and got injured and it’s just been one step back after another, but good ol’ Kourtnei Brown has kept a great attitude, kept his eyes on the lord and to see him have a game like that on a day that he was named captain against a North Carolina team, it was pretty neat. I’m just very happy for him.”
Brown was only the second defensive lineman for Clemson to score two touchdowns in a game, the first was in 1954.