"I Can't Say Enough Good Things About Him"

"I Can't Say Enough Good Things About Him"

Ask Northwest High School head football coach Randy Trivers just one question about WVU commitment Darren Brownlee, and he's off and running.

"What stands out most about Darren is his character," Trivers told BlueGoldNews.com. "He's just a fantastic person. He's a leader, both on the team and in the classroom, and he has a great work ethic. He's tough on the field, but his mental toughness really stands out.

"He drives himself had and works hard every day," Trivers continued. "Anyone that meets him sees those qualities in him. "His classmates, his teammates, teachers, all of them think he is simply a great individual."

As much as Trivers says about Brownlee's character off the field, he has even more to say about his play on it.

"He's what I call a "money" ballplayer. He's a go-to guy for us, and he's simply a sensational big play guy. He makes big plays both with and without the ball, and that's something you don't see from everyone."

Although Brownlee caught "only" 31 passes last year, he made them count. Twelve of them went for touchdowns, and he spread them out nicely. He snared one scoring pass in eleven straight games, setting a Northwest record. Plays such as those illustrate the big-play capability that Trivers talks about.

"Darren can run and catch every type of route, and he's a dedicated blocker. As you know, getting blocks downfield can be the difference in popping a big running play, and Darren is a motivated blocker.

"I think he will come in ready to compete, because he's had a lot of work running a lot of different sets," Trivers continued. "We are blessed with a lot of talent, so we try to take advantage of that with a lot of different formations. We run one back, two back, I formation, two- three- and four wides, and some shotgun. We had two other receivers with more than 20 catches last year, and we rushed for more than 1500 yards.

"Because of that, and other factors, high school stats can be deceiving. I don't put much stock in them. Darren is a big play receiver with great body control and the knack for getting to the football, whereever it may be. WVU is getting a great player."

WVU appeared to have a bit of an "in" on Brownlee, as Trivers' brother, Calvin, played for current WVU assistant Bill Stewart when Stewart coached at William and Mary. Brownlee's father also has an indirect WVU tie, as he played for former Mountaineer assistatn Dan Simrell at Toledo.

However, Trivers said that none of those things carried much weight when Darren made his decision.

"Darren thought everything out, and he made the decision on his own. He's an intelligent, thoughtful person, and none of those relationships played into his decision. I just try to get my kids into a position to have opportunities, so whether it's Darren at West Virginia or Tony Nelson at Clemson, they make those decisions on their own.

"Where that kind of thing does come into play," Trivers continued, "is in the relationship Bill and I have. Coach Stewart is sincere and genuine. He has a passion and an enthusiasm for West Virginia football, and the kids get that when they talk with him. He's dedicated to football and to helping the kids, and knowing he's a quality person makes it easy to work with him."

Brownlee is the first Northwest player under Trivers to commit to WVU, and that's not the only unique item about his choice. Trivers said that Brownlee and Nelson are two of the first early commitments that he has had.

"We've had Division 1 players, but most of them committed sell into the season, and in many cases after the season," Trivers said. "That could have an influence on our team this year. We're focusing on winning a state title, so it could make it easier for those players to foucs on their senior seasons."

With early commitments always come questions, of course, about the staying power of the verbal, which, as the saying goes, is "about as good as the paper it's not printed on". In this case, however, Trivers says the deal is done.

"I told both Darren and Tony that if they made their decision, they needed to stick with it. I asked them 'If your "dream school" came along tomorrow and offered you a full ride, are you prepared to say "no"?'",Trivers said. "Are you prepared to honor your word? When a kid gives a commitment, that is his word. And you won't see a kid from Northwest go back on his word."

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